RIVERDANCE 10 YEARS ON: Salvage boss battered by men wearing balaclavas

Jim Hancock
Jim Hancock
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Days after clearing the Riverdance off the beach, the boss of the firm brought in to complete the salvage job was ‘tortured’ by men looking for the cash.

Jim Hancock said men wearing balaclavas and wielding hammers and an axe battered him before ordering him to hand over the money from the multi-million pound job – which he said hadn’t even been paid out yet.

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The 36-year-old, whose incredible story was confirmed by police, said: “The curse of the Riverdance, that bit, yeah, it really was. There are some nasty people in the world.”

Jim said he was watching Coronation Street at the home he shared with his now ex-girlfriend of 10 years when, half-asleep, he looked up to see a door open.

“There was a fellow there with a balaclava on and a sledgehammer in his hand,” he said.

“I jumped up and got hold of the coffee table and flicked it. It hit him in the chin and he went down.

“Then another two lads just ran in, and that was the end of that for 40 minutes.”

The trio battered him, Jim said, and ordered him to hand over the cash he’d got for working on the ship.

“They thought we got paid in cash,” he said, blaming the attack on ‘bad information somewhere’.

He added: “Obviously they had seen the TV report that we had finished, and four or five days later came into my house.

“They made a mess of me.”

Jim said he discharged himself from the hospital, despite suffering broken bones, but said he had to stay in a safe house for two days.

“They never got any money out of me but that’s what came out of the job,” he added.

“I lost my girlfriend as well that day. We split up because she couldn’t live back in that house.

“She was the love of my life. It scarred her for life. She moved to France to get away from it all. She couldn’t cope with it.

“Because they were never found, and the door was always locked at my house, life changed a little bit.

“I have never really had another girlfriend since. You know when you’ve something good in your life, that good, your soul-mate, and then you lose them, it’s hard work.

“It wasn’t a case of losing her from falling out of love, it was a case of she couldn’t bear to be there and I wouldn’t leave the house.

“It was my house and I wasn’t leaving because some idiots came in.”

Jim said he never reported the attack to police, but a force spokeswoman said officers opened an investigation after being called in by a neighbour.

She said they responded to reports of a robbery in Morecambe between 8pm and 8.20pm on Monday, November 10, 2008.

Raiders beat a man with their weapons before using cable ties to try and bound his hands, crime logs showed.

A woman, understood to be his partner, was kicked in the head while Jim was forced upstairs to look for money.

They fled without any cash, but took a black Range Rover and two mobile phones – with nobody ever brought to justice for the crime.

Jim said: “One of my workers was in jail and he came out two or three years later. He said, ‘I was in the cells with a lad when I was at such-a-prison and he said he was the one who did the job on your house.’

“He said he’d run a police man over afterwards, not that day but years on, and he got put inside for 25 years with no sign of early release, so karma does come back around.”

Jim said the job, which lasted around 10 months, was worth multi-millions, and ‘set me on my feet for life’, but he added: “But I did invest all my money into the business.

“I didn’t go and buy a luxury house or anything.”