Payload Raiders

I found this post on canal World’s web site. It is a cautionary tale about not collecting your payload straight away.


Lost camera, Scout scarf & parachute

I’m the Group Scout Leader of the 63rd Leicester Scout Group in Leicester.  Last night we had our end-of-term party and finished by launching a weather balloon approximately 30 kms towards the edge of space.  This has been many months in the planning by one of our Young Leaders and the launch had been pre-authorised by the Civil Aviation Authority.  After a slight delay when East Midlands Airport would not authorise the launch at the planned time of 8pm yesterday (Tuesday) we were given the go ahead.
The weather balloon was carrying a white polystyrene box (approx 30 cm wide x 20 cm deep x 25 cm high) containing a brand new Philips ESee CAM150RD video camera, a GPS tracker, a battery and a 63rd Leicester Group scarf (maroon with yellow and purple edging strips) which had been
signed by all of the children at our Group.  The box was secured with heavy duty black plastic ties. When the balloon burst, an orange & green parachute controlled the box’s descent.  We tracked the descent and landing to a farmer’s field bordering on the canal close to where you are (North side of canal on Home Farm about 500m North of Hillmorton Locks).  As it was getting dark we didn’t come to collect the box until this morning.  The box was found at about 10.30am today (Wednesday) in the area shown on the attached, but the lid was
missing as were the plastic ties.  The base of the box was undamaged but only the tracking device and battery remained. Most importantly, the video camera, Scouting scarf and parachute were also missing.  The surrounding area was searched thoroughly but nothing else was found.  I can only conclude that someone saw the descent.  Perhaps someone went to investigate.  Perhaps they opened the box and took the items.  We just don’t know.
We have left the details with Home Farm, and alerted the nearest Scout Group, but we need to publicise the fact that these items are missing just in case someone knows where these items are so that they can be returned.  Significant fundraising took place to buy the equipment needed for this special event (£400) and we had planned to post the footage from the video camera on YouTube so that all of our Beavers,Cubs and Scouts plus their families could see the view from the ascent and descent.
I don’t know if it is a fairly static narrow boat community around The Locks/Hillmorton, but please could you either ask/publicise this among local boat owners to determine if they have seen or heard anything,and/or advise who I could contact in order to spread our search further.
Many thanks for any help you can give us – it’s greatly appreciated.
Best regards
Mike Rowlinson
Group Scout Leader
63rd Leicester – St Thomas More Scout Group, Leicester
Tel: 07871 570924



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