NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Fines of £155,000 handed out to skippers over black fish

Four fishing skippers have been fined £155,000 over false declarations of landings, bringing fines in the long-running case to nearly £1.75m.

Andrew Tait, Robert Tait and Peter Tait were each fined £40,000, and William Tait was fined £35,000, at the High Court in Edinburgh.

At an earlier hearing they were the subject of confiscation orders totalling £721,562.

Fresh Catch from Peterhead was fined £160,000.

This was for assisting other vessel skippers in making undeclared landings.

The company was earlier the subject of a confiscation order for £500,000.

'Absolutely staggering'

Grampian Police Det Supt Gordon Gibson said: "The guilty pleas of these four men for landing undeclared fish and the similar plea of Fresh Catch Ltd for processing huge volumes of such fish now brings an end to the Operation Trawler investigation.

"On top of the sizeable fines of £315,000 handed out today to these men and this company, they now also have been forced to pay back over £1.2m under the proceeds of crime legislation.

"Having led this investigation for over fours years now, it has been extremely complex and is a prime example of how various agencies working closely together have been highly successful in bringing no less than 31 individuals and three large companies to justice.

"Fines totalling nearly £1.75m have been handed out by the courts and over £8.1m has been seized under the proceeds of crime over the course of this investigation.

"The greed shown by these men and the respective companies has been absolutely staggering, at a level never seen before in the UK and that should not be forgotten."

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