NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Divers fined for raiding sunken German warships at Scapa Flow

Scapa Flow Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The wrecks of seven ships at Scapa Flow are designated as scheduled monuments

Two divers who illegally took artefacts from sunken German warships at Scapa Flow have each been fined £18,000.

Gordon Meek, 66, and Robert Infante, 48, raided a number of vessels including the battleships SMS Markgraf and SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm.

The ships and five other wrecks scuttled off the Orkney coast in 1919 are designated as scheduled monuments.

Meek, from Glasgow, and American Infante were caught after being spotted bringing items aboard their boat.

They pleaded guilty at Kirkwall Sheriff Court to one charge in contravention of Section 2(1) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, Section 2(1).

Andrew Laing, procurator fiscal for Grampian, Highlands and Islands, said: "For a number of decades now Scapa Flow has been one of Europe's top attractions for sports divers with the wrecks being of great significance to our heritage and the local community.

"They have lain on the seabed for nearly 100 years and the vast majority of those visiting have treated them with the respect they deserve.

"It is vitally important that there are laws in place to protect such important sites and, as with this case where there is sufficient evidence of a crime and if it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so, we will prosecute."