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Scoop! DNA database to tackle dog poo pests

THE FIGHT against dog fouling in public places is about to go high tech if Shetland Islands Council has its way.

Forensic analysis techniques that are used in criminal investigations are now being used to profile DNA in dog dirt to catch people who refuse to pick up after their pets.

The SIC is joining other local authorities across the UK who want to adopt the US PooPrints system that can identify any pooch from its poop.

Anger as Turkish pupils held up at airport

The Turkish visitors with their peers from Latvia, Norway and Sardinia - Photo: Gordon Stove/Brae High SchoolTHE HOME Office has declined to comment after a group of Turkish students travelling to Shetland missed their flight after being held up at passport control in Aberdeen Airport last week.

The seven 13 to 15 year olds and their two teachers, from the southern Turkish city of Adana, had to spend a night in Aberdeen before being able to continue their journey.

Election: SNP under fire over ferry fares

Opposition parties have accused the SNP of "discrimination" against the Northern Isles on ferry fares. Photo: Shetnews/Neil RiddellSNP CANDIDATE Danus Skene has defended the Scottish Government after it was accused of “discrimination” by extending the road equivalent tariff (RET) to more west coast services without taking action to cut fares in the Northern Isles.

Alistair Carmichael, who has served as Orkney and Shetland's MP since 2001, renewed the Liberal Democrats’ criticism of the Holyrood administration for extending RET to services in the Firth of Clyde – where the cost of a single car ticket will be cut by 55 per cent.

Man appears on serious sexual charges

A 62-YEAR old man with an address on the Shetland mainland has been charged with a total of six offences including two of sexual assault of a young child.

Basil Edward Beattie appeared in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday afternoon.

Other charges brought under the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act relate to sexual assault as well as lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour.

New talks to avert airport strikes

Sumburgh airport - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsNEW talks between Highlands and Islands airport operator HIAL and trade union Prospect in a bid to prevent strikes at Sumburgh Airport have been agreed.

The union's national secretary Alan Denney confirmed on Monday that he would meet with HIAL management on Wednesday morning.

Last day at work for Mr Last Ditchology

Brian Priest on his last day with COPE. "y repairing days are over, but there's still a curiosity about why something doesn't work." Photo Austin Taylor“It's been a slow three months since Christmas,” said Brian Priest on the eve of his 65th birthday and his long awaited retirement from the world of working with electrical equipment.

A popular man with a dry sense of humour, Priest became something of a legend in Lerwick largely thanks to the inspired name of the business he set up in the late 1980s.

Revolutionary tidal turbine for north Yell

The Nova30, which is already generating electricity from under Bluemull Sound, is likely to be superseded by the new direct-drive turbine. Photo Nova InnovationSHETLAND looks set to remain at the forefront of marine renewables after the Scottish government pledged more than half a million pounds towards developing a revolutionary tidal turbine to be sited off the isle of Yell.

Nova Innovation, the Edinburgh-based business behind the world’s first community-owned tidal turbine project at Cullivoe, has been awarded £573,000 towards the £1 million cost of building and testing its proposed “direct-drive tidal turbine”.

Strike action after Easter at Sumburgh airport

Sumburgh airport faces disruption next month after security staff voted to strike for 48 hours.Sumburgh airport is to be hit by strikes after security staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, it was announced on Friday afternoon.

The union Prospect said staff will stage a 48 hour strike from midday on 7 April at all airports run by government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL).

NHS 'grasps nettle' on Lerwick GP practice

Lerwick Health Centre. Photo: ShetnewsNEXT WEEK sees NHS Shetland launch its latest effort to tackle the difficulties patients at Lerwick Health Centre have been suffering in getting appointments quickly.

On Monday the health board will introduce a new advanced nurse practicioner service at the busy South Road practice.

Five advanced nurses will see all patients who require to be seen on the day for acute problems and minor illnesses and ailments.

New gas fields to come on stream

NEWS THAT A one billion pound investment to develop two new gas fields to west of Shetland has been given the green light by the UK government has been welcomed locally.

The Edradour and Glenlivet gas fields, owned by French oil and gas giant Total (80 per cent) and Danish state company DONG (20 per cent), will be connected to the new Laggan-Tormore infrastructure.

Fox calls for trust to debate Viking wind farm

SIC deputy leader Billy Fox.SHETLAND Islands Council’s deputy leader Billy Fox has called for Shetland Charitable Trust to hold a debate on the status of Viking Energy’s wind farm plans and not “set themselves aside” from the public.

His call comes a week after a written request from anti-Viking group Sustainable Shetland for the SIC to debate the wider implications on the community was rebuffed by council leader Gary Robinson.

Fox, who chaired Sustainable Shetland for a number of years before he became a councillor, said the public deserved to know whether the project is likely to be commercially viable.

Brae High School welcomes European visitors

Pupils from Brae High School welcoming their European visitors - Photo: Gordon StovePUPILS from four European countries have arrived in Shetland for a week-long exchange programme.

The 13 to 18 year old 'young Europeans on the edge of Europe' from Latvia, Turkey, Sardinia and Norway and are guests of Brae High School.

New arts chief is up for the challenge

"It's big sky...that properly puts you in your place." Graeme Howell outside Mareel shortly after Friday's eclipse. Photo Austin Taylor“I think it’s time for Shetland Arts to take a breath,” its new director Graeme Howell says as he leans back in a harbour-side office at Mareel, exhaling a cloud of blueberry and mint-flavoured steam from the vapour pipe he took up a year ago to replace smoking tobacco.

The islands’ arts agency could use a breather after an exhausting few years winning the battle to build and keep hold of the £13.5 million cinema and music venue.

New mums' event in aid of stillbirth charity

From back row (left to right): Amy Gerrard with Lucy, Elaine Gair with Connor; Front row: Chloe Tallack with Thea, Jennifer Munro with Magnus, and Nicola Bowie with Rylee. Photo: Shetnews/Neil RiddellA GROUP of new mothers have teamed up to organise a fundraising event in aid of the Stillbirth and neonatal death society (Sands).

After reading about the work that Marie Manson is doing for the charity in Shetland, the group of first-time mothers felt compelled to help, having all had positive experiences with the NHS's local maternity services.

Celestial drama as festival season flickers out

Guizer Jarl Alan Jamieson, aka Kveldulf Bjalfason, with his 11 year old eldest son Fraser at Brae primary department on Friday morning. Photo ShetnewsTHE 2015 Up Helly Aa season could have hardly come to a more dramatic end in Brae on Friday.

The final fire festival of the winter started with a rare solar eclipse and ended on the spring equinox, when night and day are in perfect balance.

Shetland lucky to see stunning solar eclipse

SHETLAND was briefly plunged into semi darkness on Friday when the solar eclipse reached its maximum of 97 per cent.

Despite the dull and misty conditions earlier on, fortune smiled when the moon almost completely blocked out the sun at 9.43am.

Bad blood boils over at Muckle Flugga flats

A FORMER lighthouse keeper in Shetland who drew a pocket knife on his neighbour after years of disputes boiled over was acquitted after a trial at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

The court heard that there was bad blood between 66 year old Lawrence Johnstone and his neighbour, self-employed sculptor Tony Humbleyard, who lives beneath him at the remote Muckle Flugga shore station on the island of Unst – the most northerly residence in the UK.

The animosity spilled over on 8 November last year when 53 year old Humbleyard, who described himself as a Buddhist, confronted Johnstone about damage he claimed had been caused to the footings of a drying pole on the flats’ communal green.

Man appears in court after bomb hoax

A FORTY-two year man from Ayrshire has appeared at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court on Thursday following a hoax call to Shetland Coastguard suggesting that there were explosive devices on two accommodation barges berthed at Lerwick and Scalloway.

The case against Gary Docherty, from Saltcoats, was continued without plea. He was released on bail with special conditions.

Police in Shetland said on Thursday it was quickly established that the call was a hoax and had been made from Saltcoats.

Lerwick summit agrees islands proofing

Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael (left) and the three islands council leaders Steven Heddle (Orkney), Gary Robinson (Shetland) and Angus Campbell (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) agreeing guidelines to ensure that the islands' unique circumstances are  being reflected in UK government policies - Photo: Pete Bevington/ShetNewsTHE INTERESTS of Scotland's island communities will be ingrained in UK government policies, according to Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael.

The northern isles MP met with the council leaders of Shetland, Orkney and the western isles in Lerwick on Thursday morning.

Thief remanded after shoplifting spree

A SHOPLIFTER who stole various items from six different Lerwick retailers over a three-month period has been remanded in custody.

Thirty nine year old Jamie Neill, of Sandveien, Lerwick, was denied bail on Wednesday having admitted to a string of dishonesties beginning on 30 October last year.

Neill stole electrical and hardware items from Boots Chemist between 30 October and 30 December. He also stole two DVD players from the Cooperative supermarket and four computer mice from Shetland Library on Christmas Eve.

Woman handed jail term for heroin supply

A WOMAN has been jailed for just under a year after admitting to supplying heroin at a Lerwick address in early 2014.

Thirty nine year old Pauline Flaws, of Belville Street, Greenock, had previously been warned to expect a custodial sentence for the offence – committed on 28 February last year.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard that police officers found Flaws in possession of heroin with a value of £1,250.

Defence agent Ian McGregor said the drugs were primarily for personal use with the intention of supplying one other individual, but it was “not a commercial enterprise by any stretch of imagination”.

Peel Energy take over proposed Yell wind farm

THE NEW owners of the Beaw Field wind farm interest, in Yell, are confident that a decision on the subsea cable linking Shetland to the national grid will be made within the next 12 months.

Manchester based Peel Energy took over the wind farm project from German firm Enertrag at the end of last year.

The company said it would be hosting a series of public meetings this spring to present their plans for the site north west of Burravoe and to hear local views.

Seabed cash should aid local industries

Smith Commission convener Bruce Crawford. Photo: Shetnews/Neil RiddellA CONSENSUS is emerging that income generated from the seabed around Shetland should be used to support the isles’ fishing and aquaculture industries.

Six MSPs involved in the Smith Commission, set up to devolve more power to Holyrood after last year’s independence referendum, were in the islands yesterday to gather public opinion.

They met with marine industry representatives and detected a strong feeling that both the management of and income derived from the seabed – currently handled by the Crown Estate – should be devolved to Shetland.

New Holmsgarth pier takes shape

CONSTRUCTION work to build the new £16.5 million Holmsgarth North pier is now well under way.

Lerwick Port Authority awarded the contract to create 800 metres of additional deep water berthing space to local civil engineering firm Tulloch Development at the end of last year.