Page last updated at 09:43 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 10:43 UK

Scrapping of navy ship nears end

TS Kellington
The ship was used as a Sea Cadet base

Work to dismantle a former minesweeper on Teesside which began listing heavily after being damaged by metal thieves is nearing its final stages.

Action to scrap the TS Kellington got under way on Stockton's riverside in April after a pipe was severed and she started taking on water.

Able UK has since dismantled most of the ship and is about to begin work to cut her in half and lift out the keel.

The vessel arrived on the River Tees in 1993 and was used as a Sea Cadet base.

The ship became a repeated target for vandals and thieves after the cadets were force to leave the site for health and safety reasons nine years ago.

In April, thieves trying to remove machinery ruptured a main pipe which led to the ship taking on large amounts of water.

Frank Cook MP, who led calls for the ship to be made safe before she began listing, said he was "relieved" the work was almost complete.

He said: "I'm very pleased with the degree of commitment and cooperation in the work done by not only Able UK but by Stockton Council and the Environment Agency.

"This is only the end of this chapter, as what we have to do now is find the Sea Cadets some form of accommodation on the riverside where they can practice the basic skills of seamanship."

The ship was launched as HMS Kellington in 1954 after being built in Sunderland.

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