Chefs have been warned to check that their scallops are legally caught, after a spate of thefts of the shellfish from a Scottish loch.
David Oakes, who has been a scallop fisherman since 1984, started to "ranch" deep caught scallops in loch Sligachan off the west coast of Scotland in 1998.
Oakes has a "Several Order" for the loch, which lasts 15 years from this time and grants him exclusive rights to dive and retrieve the scallops.
Recently however rogue boats have been seen in the area and divers have been stealing the shellfish with the scallops ending up in the kitchens of some of the UK's best known chefs.
Oakes said: "This is a serious situation and it is endangering my livelihood. Chefs should be asking their suppliers exactly where they get their scallops and if they are legally caught."
David Wilkinson, chef at the Lochbay Seafood restaurant in Stein, who buys from Oakes, said: "It's very sad to see this sort of thing going on. David has worked hard to get his scallops in top condition and others are cashing in on his hard work"
Two divers are to appear in court next month on theft charges.
By Christopher Trotter
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