Soft-Top Takes A Swim on Putney Embankment

Another BMW snatched by high tide on the Thames

BMW off Putney Embankment

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This Wednesday (12 February) a convertible BMW Z4 left on the slipway on Putney Embankment was snatched by the Thames.

Its owner 25-year-old James Roycroft-Davis, was in Putney visiting his girlfriend and parked the car at around 2pm. When he returned at 4.30pm the car was no longer there.

There was a group of people on the embankment laughing at a car floating down the river and when he went to look he quickly realised it was his vehicle.

James was quoted in Yahoo News as saying, “There was not much we could do. We thought, let’s see where it sinks. It sank about 50 metres away. We had to wait until about 11pm when it was low tide to try and retrieve it.

“It is a total write-off. We are hoping the insurers will pay out but we doubt they will.”

It was later found 'parked' below the railing west of the slipway, where it is now secured awaiting collection.

James lost a number of other items as well including his barbour jacket. He had renewed the insurance on the car the day before but denied suggestions that the car was deliberately left there as an insurance scam.

He tweeted:

The Thames appears to have a penchant for BMWs. In 2016 spring tides took a BMW from the embankment before dropping it at Barn Elms Boat House. Another BMW saloon was taken by tides in July 2016.

This area is known for its notoriously high tide and James made the mistake of parking on the slipways used by rowing clubs.

The London Port Authority recovered his vehicle on Thursday after warning of another high tide from Putney to Teddington as a result of spring tides.

These occur after a new or full moon, when there is the greatest difference between high and low water.

Alan, a Flood Forecaster at The Thames Barrier, tweeted: “Low-lying roads will flood at high tide, but no property flooding expected. Please be careful where you leave your car.”

The Environment Agency echoed these warnings, and said it was a common flood alert for the area, but that water levels could be higher due to the amount of rainfall expected with Storm Dennis this weekend. They warned locals to “be prepared”.

James Mead, a staff member at Crewroom, a sporting goods store along the river, said flooding is common but yesterday’s tide was “the highest it’s been here in a year and a half”.

He said he has seen a number of cars swept away by the tides over the years, especially those belonging to people who don’t know the area well.

Paul Barnard from nearby Chas Newens Marine Co Limited agreed: “People always park their cars there because there’s no parking restrictions. If they don’t get back until the tide is up, then they have lost the car.”

A spokesperson for Wandsworth Council also advised against parking on the slipways due to the high risk of flooding.

But despite the proximity to the river, Mr Barnard said the shop is usually protected by the flood gates, so he isn’t particularly worried about Storm Dennis this weekend.

Coming just a week after Storm Ciara, Dennis is set to batter the city this weekend, with a yellow weather warning in place for wind across the whole of London.

The Met Office has also forecast heavy rain for Saturday (February 15) and Sunday (February 16), mostly affecting South and West London.

The weather should clear by Monday.

Written with contributions from Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter

February 14, 2020