500 British troops deployed to tackle looting as British Virgin Islands recovers from Hurricane Irma

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British troops and police officers have been deployed to halt looting in the British Virgin Islands after the territory was savaged by the deadly Hurricane Irma.

Some 500 British soldiers have been sent to the region, with 120 stationed in the British Virgin Islands, the Defence Secretary said.

Asked how big the looting problem was in the British territory, Sir Michael Fallon told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “There has been a security issue there and that’s why we’re now prioritising getting armed troops in and police coming in behind them to strengthen the local police force.

“You can understand the island has been devastated, it’s been difficult for people to move around until you get helicopters there, but there are troops now there assisting the Governor to ensure law and order is maintained.”

Responding to criticism over the Government’s response to the disaster, Sir Michael pointed to the 16,000-tonne aid ship, equipped with marines, a helicopter, and pallets of aid, which was stationed in the Caribbean for the hurricane season.

“We pre-positioned a ship in the Caribbean for the hurricane season,” he said.

“Mounts Bay was not there by chance. We pre-positioned our ship there to help on the islands, she’s already been helping on the islands and as soon as we were clear which airfields could be used we got our flights in. We have troops helping at the moment.”


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