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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 12:47 GMT
Swedes speak of scavenge trauma
Among the motorcycles and other goods washed ashore from the stricken ship MSC Napoli, one Swedish family was horrified to see TV pictures of personal belongings sitting on the Devon beach at Branscombe.

Sidmouth beach
Thousands of people descended on the Devon beach

Anita and Jan Bokdal spend five months each year in South Africa, where they have bought a wine farm.

They hoped to settle more permanently there, so sent their possessions from the Swedish capital, Stockholm, to Cape Town.

Unfortunately, their crate was loaded on to the MSC Napoli - the ship that was wrecked in storms off the Devon coast.

Anita Bokdal told BBC News how she watched the drama of the damaged ship unfold on television, and noticed a familiar box standing on the beach.

"It was still not open. But a couple of hours later we were watching again and we saw that there was a hole in the box and people were taking things out of the box."

You think it doesn't happen to you, it happens to other people
Anita Bokdal

Initially she feared her belongings were being stolen, and described it as a "terrible shock" to see her possessions "stolen by educated people".

"You think it doesn't happen to you, it happens to other people. When you realise 'this is us', then you feel you don't know what to say."

But a coastguard official later confirmed that a member of the public had reported the container.

"The person that recovered them has delivered them so we can reunite her with her things," said a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Among the items Mrs Bokdal had packed were pieces of embroidery made by her father-in-law, furniture, carpets and sentimental items from her wedding.

"We've been married for 32 years and we wanted to have those memories [in South Africa] so that we could have a home here too."

She said the container also had clothes she intended to give to poor communities in South Africa.

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