|Abstract||An extract from Peter Tucker's writings
It will be known by some of the older folk of Mersea, 'Mersea people'' as opposed to the people who live at Mersea, 'five minute Mersea-ites' in fact, that there existed in the not too distant past, Water Policemen. A sergeant and two constables in fact, the Sergeant being Mr Brown [Charles Frederick Brown] who was the grandfather of Vic French. Jean Ponder and Brian Jay. I do not know who the constables were, but one might well consider that there were also twelve coastguards, it brings forward the realisation that smuggling and violence against the Excise Men was a very real fact. The so called tunnels in the older houses. Stone House, The Firs and The Strood House were in
fact places to store the contraband ready for removal to the mainland as and when the Excise Men could be decoyed or tricked long enough to make this possible.
These short tunnels have over the years grown very much in length by various 'fables' that had them as underground tunnels between houses or via the Ray Island, to the Strood house or in one instance, to Burnham-on-Crouch. Some feat this would have been and makes the prisoner of war escapes in Germany pale into insignificance were any real truth at all in this tale.