Fresh agony for fire-hit Cove Har­bour fish­er­men

£45k le­gal bill

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KIERAN BEAT­TIE

Agroup of Aberdeen fish­er­men who lost a court case last year have been hit with a le­gal bill of around £45,000 – just days af­ter their cher­ished ves­sels were de­stroyed in a ma­li­cious fire.

The Cove Fish­er­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion was forced to move its boats at Cove Har­bour last year af­ter a court ruled in favour of landowner Pral­had Kolhe – who owns sec­tions of the his­toric bay.

Mr Kolhe has been seek­ing to re­move the small fleet of boats from his land.

How­ever, in the months since the court’s de­ci­sion, the fish­er­men have con­tin­ued their ac­tiv­i­ties by keep­ing their re­main­ing ves­sels in a much smaller pocket of the har­bour not un­der the landowner’s con­trol, fur­ther away from the shore­line.

The court also ruled Mr Kolhe had no right to pre­vent pub­lic ac­cess to the pier at the small bay, which is used by kayak­ers, scuba divers, walk­ers and the emer­gency ser­vices. Al­though the fish­er­men had vowed to fight on, decades of fish­ing her­itage went up in smoke last week­end when a de­lib­er­ate fire de­stroyed the re­main­ing ves­sels and a quan­tity of equip­ment.

Po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent, but no­body has yet been charged.

Jim Adam, the chair­man of the as­so­ci­a­tion, has now set up an on­line fundraiser to help soften the blow of the le­gal costs.

He said yes­ter­day: “I couldn’t be­lieve that he would in­struct so­lic­i­tors to fire across his court costs to us just days af­ter we lost the boats in the fire and now he’s con­tin­u­ing what­ever op­er­a­tion he’s try­ing to do by com­pletely block­ing off all the re­main­ing turn­ing space in the har­bour.

“Right now, we’re hop­ing to get £45,000, which is what we’ve been told are the le­gal fees. We’re go­ing to try and get as close to that to­tal as we can. The rest of the guys and my­self are just sick of it now.”

Of­fi­cers are still search­ing for the fir­erais­ers who de­stroyed the Cove boats and are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent along­side other ma­li­cious fires which were set at the nearby Aberdeen har­bour ex­pan­sion project a few miles north.

To find out more about the on­line fundraiser for the fish­er­men’s le­gal fees, visit just­giv­ing.com and search for Help Cove Fish­er­men.

Mr Kolhe de­clined to com­ment.

“The rest of the guys and my­self are sick of it now”

Pho­to­graph by Chris Sum­ner

BILLED: Jim Adam, of the Cove Fish­er­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion, which has been landed with a £45,000 le­gal bill.

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