Shetland fishermen admit £15m of illegal landings

image caption, The Lerwick boat Antares was one of those involved in the inquiry

Six Shetland fishermen have admitted illegally landing £15m of undeclared fish.

The men admitted the offences at the High Court in Edinburgh, after a major investigation.

The offences related to a number of illegal landings of mackerel and herring at Lerwick between 2002 and 2005.

Shetland Catch Ltd has previously admitted assisting the skippers in making the undeclared landings.

Laurence Irvine, 64, of the Antares, admitted 77 landings worth more than £5.6m.

William Williamson, 63, admitted 57 landings worth more than £3.6m; Gary Williamson, 51, admitted 31 landings worth more than £1.9m; and George Henry, 59, confessed to 16 incidents valued at more than £1.5m.

Colin Leask, 37, admitted 13 landings more than £1.4m; and John Stewart, 55, admitted 41 landings worth more than £1m.

Scott Pattison, director of operations at the Crown Office, said: "This prosecution of these individuals follows the conviction of eight others in August and October, for similar offences, and is part of an extensive and complex investigation which is continuing into other fish landings."

Sentence was deferred until 14 February.

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