Somerset

Extinction Rebellion protest: Somerset eBayer's boat used

Police stand in front of a boat used by climate change protesters to block a road in London Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The 1950s Folkboat was put on the auction site last month, then appeared outside the Royal Courts of Justice

A man said his "jaw dropped" when he saw a boat he sold on eBay being used by environmental campaigners in London.

Tim Whittingham, from Bridgwater, sold his 25ft (7.62m) yacht to a "mysterious buyer" for £850 in June.

On Monday the boat was parked outside the Royal Courts of Justice during an Extinction Rebellion protest against climate change "inaction".

Mr Whittingham said: "I couldn't believe where she ended up. It was such an unexpected place to see her."

The 1950s Folkboat, which "leaked like a sieve", was put on the auction site last month with the warning "buyer beware".

"I had her for about 10 years but she'd just been left outside on a trailer and was looking sadder and sadder," he said.

"I only had one bid from a mysterious buyer who didn't come and see her and didn't ask any questions."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption On Monday, Mr Whittingham spotted his boat on the news

Jane Forbes from Extinction Rebellion said all the boats were sourced and bought for the organisation by their boat expert.

"So we're delighted to re-use [Mr Whittingham's] boat to remind people of the uprising in April," she said.

Image copyright Tim Whittingham
Image caption Mr Whittingham sold the boat for £850 in June

The craft resurfaced in news headlines on Monday, repainted blue and re-named after environmental activist Polly Higgins.

It was one of five boast unveiled and used by protesters to stop traffic in Cardiff, Glasgow, Bristol, Leeds, and London as part of a five-day "summer uprising".

"When I saw the news, I thought, 'that's my boat'," he said.

"I recognised the trailer - it was a one off - and the boat was definitely her."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Five boats were unveiled on Monday and each were named after an environmental activist

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Despite being "sad" she may never sail again, Mr Whittingham said he was "pleased to see her tidied up".

"Obviously in a sentimental way it would have been nice if they had fixed her up and launched her," he said.

"But I sent them an email to say I'm pleased it's been put to good use."

Extinction Rebellion is calling on the government to declare a climate emergency.

The government announced in June it would commit to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

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