BANKIES have condemned as “nonsense” claims in a new documentary of a “looting epidemic” on the famous QE2 liner.

The decades-old rumours got a renewed airing in the first episode of the Channel 5 series that kicked off last Tuesday. It suggested “she very nearly didn’t come into existence at all as strikes and looting blighted her creation”.

Organisers of a one-day conference in Clydebank last year to mark the vessel’s 50th birthday said they were disappointing, as did MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.

The programme was full of praise for the QE2 as a “byword for extravagance” and the “fastest passenger ship ever built in Britain – even when going backwards”.

But it also concluded “the town was left devastated when the yard shut” and showed near ghost-town images of Clydebank, such as a shopping trolley in front John Browns bar and the Titan Crane from different angles.

Chris Frame, quoted in the documentary as a maritime historian, said the QE2 was delayed going into service because of the workers.

He said: “Not only were there industrial relations issues which were causing further delays, there was also a looting epidemic.”

The programme also cited “vandalism with a purpose” to delay the work, such as oil being thrown over carpets.

An ex-Cunard PR boss claimed Clydebank had a list of items for sale stolen from the ship, while former QE2 social director Lynn Waring who repeated a tale about carpet.

She said: “We weren’t that aware [of the squirrelling] until they rolled out the carpet in the Double Down room. 

“This carpet was state-of-the-art, absolutely exquisite, until they rolled it out and there was a big hole in it, the exact dimensions of a Glasgow flat, even to where they cut out for where the fireplace was and the windows - someone had said ‘that’ll look nice in my flat’.”

Lynda Bradford, born in Clydebank and one of the organisers of last year’s conference, told the Post: “I watched the Channel 5 programme. I thought some of the film footage was good, however disappointed that once again the shipyard strikes and pilfering was featured. 

“Clydebank built a magnificent ship. An ex-Cunard PR manager Eric Flounders stated that in Clydebank, there was a list of QE2 items for sale stolen from the ship. I resent this impression given of Clydebank people, especially as I lived in Clydebank at the time and have no knowledge about such a list. 

“I would be interesting to know if any Post readers have any memories of the pilfering that Bankies are accused of doing.  

“Also Lynn Waring, regurgitated the story about a carpet being unrolled on the ship and there was a hole the ‘exact’ size of a Glasgow/Clydebank tenement room with bay window and fireplace. To me this is a nonsense story and it is about time that it was put to rest.”

Clydebank’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said the QE2 remains an important part of the town’s heritage, an iconic “testament to the skills and excellence of the men and women of John Brown’s shipyard”.

He said: “The finest ships in the world were built right here in Clydebank – where ‘Clyde-built’ became a distinguishing mark of quality.

“Whilst I’m pleased that the programme highlights the achievements of our shipyards, it’s disappointing that the documentary also chose to focus on unfounded accusations of ‘widespread vandalism and pilfering’ during the fitting of the QE2.

“Anyone who worked on the QE2 will tell you these reports are exaggerated. It does a disservice to the many honest workers and their families who rightly take pride in their contributions to the outstanding craftsmanship of this famous ocean liner.”

Channel 5 has been approached for comment.