A MAN found dead in the canal at Hanbury Wharf had been highlighted as vulnerable by the people he leased his mooring from.

The body of a 70-year-old man, named locally as Bob Willetts, was discovered in the water yesterday morning.

READ MORE | Body found in canal at Hanbury Wharf

Christopher Hill, managing director of The New and Used Boat Company that manages the moorings, said Mr Willetts had been a customer for more than 20 years and had become “a part of the furniture”.

However, concerns over Mr Willetts's welfare were raised with the local authority which was “in the process of finalising some accommodation for him”.

“Our hearts go out to his family,” said Mr Hill.

“We had been liaising with the council with regard to getting him some sort of social housing for the past three or four months, they had been down.

“We felt he should not continue to live on his boat because he was elderly. Bob would never have wanted to leave the boat, he was a proud man and very happy on there.

“It was not something he particularly wanted to do but was not resistant to it, I think he was resigned to it really.

“We contacted them because we felt he had probably got to the stage of his life where he would be better off (moving).

"He didn’t ask us, we did it out of a sense of duty and contacted them (the authorities) for their opinion more than anything else.

“They had been down to visit him on the boat and I think were in the process of finalising some accommodation for him.

“He will be missed, he was a part of the furniture and we are very sorry for his loss.”

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said Mr Willetts had volunteered with the Severn Valley Railway and was affectionately known as ‘Budgie Bob’ having carried his pet bird in a cage when heading into town, adding his boat “rarely moved”.

“He had been here for about 25 years and was very happy on his boat,” the neighbour.

“He will be missed, his health had let him down recently and he had become unsteady on his feet.

“When he went around the town the budgie would go with him for a walk where he would pop to the Salvation Army.

“He was a part of the fixtures and fittings and him not being here is going to take some getting used to. It is very sad.

“He was quite a lively character, quite outspoken and very strong willed but he had a good heart and recognised when people were trying to help him. He was very grateful for that.”

Worcestershire County Council indicated it would not comment on individual cases involving social services.