Steamboats: Drunk woman steals 45ft ferry after two-day binge

The Dart Princess, which was stolen by Whelan
The Dart Princess, which was stolen by Whelan
Share this article
Have your say

A WOMAN has been jailed for 122 days after she was found to have stolen a 100-seat passenger ferry - and taunted police by shouting ‘I’m Jack Sparrow, I’m a pirate!’

• Alison Whelan taunted police by shouting ‘I’m Jack Sparrow, I’m a pirate!’ referring to Johnny Depp’s character from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow

• 51-year-old had got drunk on Lambrini and had ingested deadly nightshade

• Thirty police officers called to deal with incident

Alison Whelan boarded the 100-seat Dart Princess river ferry with a friend in Dartmouth, a year ago, after initially undoing mooring ropes because, as she told police, she kept tripping over them.

She added that she felt the boat moving and ‘noticed the hotels getting a long way away’.

THe 51-year-old had been on a 48-hour drinking binge, and had eaten deadly nightshade, a poisonous hallucinogenic before calling an ambulance, claiming to have had a seizure. On arrival, the paramedics found her drunk and rambling, with Whelan’s friend Tristam Locke pushing one of the medics over.

They then called the police, but saw the ferry drifting away from the shore.

Eye-witnesses reported seeing the double decker ferry drifting on the tide, smashing into other boats ‘like a pinball machine’.

Thirty police officers, the Coastguard, a lifeboat crew and additional paramedics were called to the scene. Whelan, from Devon, continued to taunt the police, yelling ‘What are you going to do now?’ and ‘I believe this is out of your jurisdiction!’

She was eventually arrested after around an hour, when the ferry came to a halt in calmer waters, retorting: ‘We’d have ended up in St Tropez if we hadn’t been caught’.

Magistrates jailed the woman for 122 days for aggravated vehicle taking, which Whelan denied.