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Seven more skippers on Catch fraud charges

SEVEN fishermen have joined six other men charged with fraud following a massive investigation into illegal fish landings in Shetland and north east Scotland five years ago.

Six fishermen from Shetland and one from Fraserburgh appeared in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court yesterday (Wednesday) and were released on bail after making no plea or declaration.

The six Shetland men were Antares skipper Laurence Irvine (64), of Whalsay; Research skippers Gary Williamson (50) and William Williamson (63), both of Whalsay; Adenia skipper George Henry (58) of Bixter; Antarctic skipper John Stewart (55) of Lerwick; and his colleague Colin Leask (37) of Whalsay.

They were joined by fellow pelagic skipper Alexander Masson (64), of the Kings Cross, from Fraserburgh.

The men are all charged with fraud relating to alleged illegal landings of herring and mackerel at the Shetland Catch pelagic processing factory in Lerwick and Fresh Catch, in Peterhead.

Twenty police and fishery officers raided the factories in September 2005 after a major investigation.

In January Shetland Catch managing director Simon Leiper, his predecessor Derek Leask, were charged with fraud and defeating the ends of justice.

They were joined in court on fraud charges  by Charisma skipper David Hutchison (64) and Zephyr skippers John Irvine (66), Allister Irvine (61) all from Whalsay. Also charged with attempted fraud was Fraserburgh skipper Victor Buschini (49).

All 13 men have made no plea or declaration and been committed for further examination.