Interesting program about the “wreckers” a few months back, but it appears all was not what it seemed. Apparently this was a sort of myth put out by the ship owners largely to cover their own tracks in respect of negligence in maintaining their vessels or using them as insurance losses. Since the unscrupulous still do that it comes as no surprise. However since it was the shipowners doing the complaining the Government was bound to act. Now by the by, Mrs LR treated me to a reprint source of the Customs legislation from between 1791-5 , Cos I’m a sad git like that, and that has been an eye opener ( it being the full Customs Tariff for the time and if you want to know how far Freeport’s go back or bonded warehouses). That said the timbers being flotsam would be salvaged and reused.Well there is a history of breaking old ships and re using their timbers, some houses are older than that and it depended where ships were built in the first place.
Some of the 18th century wrecker's houses in Corwwall still have paling fences from ships they deliberately wrecked. Nasty days, if a man or animal from a ship reached shore alive there was a duty to rescue all and hand the flotsam, the cargo and the vessel, to the authorities. Many apocryphal records are about wreckers swimming out to drown seafarers. Not just Cornwall either, Scots villages and Kent too. I'd quote the books but they went back to the reference section of the library.