The Canal investigation

Leeds to Liverpool Canal

Image: Part of the Leeds to Liverpool canal

The new Leeds regional stores and offices were close to the Leeds Liverpool canal, the road in and out passed over a small bridge over the canal at one-point half a mile or so away from the stores.

The move to the new building coincided with new paperwork for service engineers, after replacing old signalling equipment such as grams and old Burgot or Rely-A Bell control panels during planned upgrades or service replacements, paperwork detailing where each item had been removed from was required to be completed. As anyone who has dealt with engineers will know, they hate paperwork and avoid it if at all possible.

No one really noticed that far more new parts were being signed out than old parts being signed back in, it was just not something anyone focussed on, however there were consequences which came to bite the company.

Following an incident involving the canal, police divers were called in to search underwater for items discarded by suspects in a criminal investigation. 

It would seem the items they were searching for had been thrown into the canal by the bridge near the office. 

The divers were hampered in their search as they found hundreds of metal boxes in the canal during their search.

The police divers spent days recovering every metal box, then opened each one to check if it had anything to do with their investigation. 

It is not known if they found what they were looking for, however they had identified that the metal boxes had brand names on them, when checking the brand names they turned out to be parts of Burgot, Rely-A Bell and Chubb intruder alarm systems that had been dumped into the canal.

The management received a visit from the police and as a result the company was subject to an investigation by environmental health, the equipment discarded in the canal included lead acid batteries, dry zinc cells, metal boxes with lead paint finish and many other toxic substances. 

In a move which stunned the engineers, rather than simply dropping the requirement to fill out returns paperwork, thereby removing the temptation to dump the old products, they dramatically increased the paperwork and tied all requests for new equipment drawn from the stores by service engineers to the return products.