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News round-up / Promoter guilty of fraud over country gig, first oil from Mariner field, shopping week a success

A MAN from Northern Ireland has been found guilty of defrauding the Shetland Country Music Club.

Promoter James McGarrity was given a four month suspended prison sentence at Dungannon Magistrates Court over a gig with country star Hal Ketchum he booked in Shetland through the club in 2013, despite there being no agreement with the musician to play in the isles.

The concert was advertised after advance money was paid by the club to McGarrity, but word soon got out that Ketchum was not touring the UK, with the ‘concert’ pulled and tickets returned.

The country club, which did not want to comment on the court ruling, was paid back its money.

OIL has started flowing from the Mariner field 95 miles east of Shetland.

More than 300 million barrels of heavy crude oil are expected to be recovered from the field over the next three decades.

Mariner is described by operator Equinor as one of the largest industrial projects in the UK in recent years.

“With the start-up of Mariner, we have delivered one of the most complex developments in the North Sea and Equinor’s portfolio,” said executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling Anders Opedal.

“We will continue to apply digital solutions and new technology to deliver safe and efficient operations and optimise production.”

THIS YEAR’s Lerwick shopping week has been hailed as a success, with an increase in local customers reported by some shopkeepers.

The event ran in parallel this year with Shetland Boat Week earlier this month, with a number of events and offers available to the public.

This included live music, face painting, a 5k race and a performance from the Alice Theatre Group on Commercial Street.

Living Lerwick project manager Emma Miller said: “I’ve spoken to a few business owners who said they were busy last week, and had noticed an increase in local customers.

“This is really encouraging. Shopping local is the only way to keep our local businesses viable and able to continue to provide services locally, keeping money in our own local economy and maintaining our low unemployment rate.”