By Ashley Pemberton via SWNS
An ex-fisherman has been left all at sea after being told to get rid of his 600-strong collection of radio-controlled boats which fill his house - because it is a "fire hazard."
Eccentric Pete Dixon, 75, started collecting the toy vessels when he split up with his wife 30 years ago.
But his hobby turned into an obsession and he spent tens of thousands of dollars on them over the years filling his home.
And after they filled every room in his modest three-bedroom in Grimsby, England, he was told by the local council they present a fire hazard so he must downscale.
Now, his amazing haul is expected to fetch between £40,000 and £60,000 ($50,218- $75,327) – which he intends to use to buy himself a real boat.
Pete said: “I was thinking about knocking a hole in the wall and renting next door to store them all, but I’ve decided to get rid of them all.
"It is sad in a way to see them go, but it has to happen sometime."
Dubbed the "resident boat buyer" by staff, Pete would frequent the auction house looking for a boating bargain after he retired from a 40-odd year career at sea.
He added: “When I finished fishing, I bought a couple of boats and I got the bug and started collecting them.
"I was married for 19 years and when we split up, that's when I started buying boats as a hobby and doing them up.
“I’d see a boat and I’d buy it if I liked it. I would buy boats, repair them and motorize them. It was like a production line, it was all good fun.
“I wouldn’t like to guess how much money I’ve spent over the years, but it must be tens of thousands. It was more of less every penny I had.”
The treasure trove of trawlers was unearthed by Prestige Auctions owner Carl Vince who was tasked with clearing the house and will go under the hammer later this month.
Carl, who dubbed Pete a "real-life Uncle Albert" due to his resemblance of the popular Only Fools and Horses character and shared love of all things nautical, said: “To walk in to a house and to have that in your face, you don’t know where to start.
“Every single room of his house was full of boats.
“There were actually 600 boats when we first started, we had to take 200 out just to move."
"He’s been a customer for a number years, he was known as the resident boat buyer because he always bought boats, but nobody realized to what extent he was collecting.
“These things aren’t cheap, they start at £40 or £50 and can go up to thousands, but he had spent everything he had on the boats."
Pete has not put a reserve on the boats when they go up for auction on Sunday, June 19, as he wants them to go to people who love them.
If he raises enough money, he hopes to buy a real boat to see out the rest of his days in.
And he’s instructed the auctioneers that when he passes away he wants it to be auctioned it off for the fisherman’s mission.
Carl added: “I’m expecting the collection will bring between £40,000 and £60,000, I think it each boat will make an average of £100."
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