Looters targeting businesses on the British Virgin Islands are desperate to survive and help their families, a couple raided in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma have said.
The workshop of Biff Smith and Amy Edmons both 40, who run Dream Yacht Charter, has been looted in the days since the storm struck the island of Tortola.
Speaking to the Press Association as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson toured the East End of the island, which is one of the worst hit areas, Ms Edmons said she thinks people are looting out of desperation.
“People are looting, but it is not out of spite or because they want to cash in on it, they just want to help their families,” she said.
While riding out the worst of the storm, the pair said they watched the film Fast And Furious with the volume on high and enjoyed a bottle of Champagne.
Ms Edmons, who is originally from Warwick, said they lost the balcony attached to their home, part of the roof of their building and said the “house was shaking” throughout.
The eye of the storm which passed directly over the island was “an hour long”, added Mr Smith, who is originally from Manchester.
“We are sailors so we knew it was coming, so we stockpiled a lot. We have taken on seven people, a parrot, four dogs, three cats,” he added.
“We are prepared and we are not worried about getting water and first aid, but we know people who are and they don’t know where to go,” she said.
The savage winds which reached more than 200mph left all 75 of the company’s boats “floating upside down in the water”, the couple said.
Employing more than 30 local residents, Ms Edmons said they are being asked daily by their staff if they will have work and be paid.
El Richardson who owns Richardsons Rigging said his business is “still intact”, but that the windows and roof have been lost and estimates around 250,000 US dollars of damage has been done.
The businessman said looting has been a problem, but that the army should have been on the island before the hurricane started.
“What would have happened is the looting would have been prevented,” he said.
“I have a good friend who owns a jewellery store, her roof went off but they went up on the roof and in and took all her watches, all her rings, it was terrible.”