Five sacks of shellfish that had been illegally harvested from Edinburgh's foreshore
have been seized.
Environmental health Officers and the police visited a site near
Gypsy Brae, Cramond, on Thursday, 30 October.
They discovered a group of people in possession of five sacks of
periwinkles, which were destined to be sold onto food retailers.
Recent analysis of shellfish from local waters had found
potentially harmful bacteria to be present.
The shellfish were voluntarily surrendered by the group to the
officers, who returned the periwinkles to the sea, and there were no
should serve as a strong warning that we will not hesitate to take swift
action against those who illegally harvest shellfish for commercial
Edinburgh City Council
Harvesting shellfish for commercial purposes is only permitted from
waters that meet certain quality standards.
None of the waters in the area currently meet that standard.
Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh City Council's environment leader, said:
"Thanks to the vigilance and excellent joint action of council
community safety staff and Lothian and Borders Police, we have managed to
prevent this potentially contaminated shellfish from ending up on
unsuspecting consumers' plates.
"This should serve as a strong warning that we will not
hesitate to take swift action against those who illegally harvest shellfish
for commercial purposes."
He warned local food retailers to be aware that suppliers of
shellfish must be able to produce adequate documentation which clearly
identifies the harvesting location, and that the area has been approved by
the appropriate local authority.
Anyone found harvesting shellfish from non-approved areas for
commercial purposes risks prosecution under the Food Safety Act 1990, with
fines up to £5,000 and/or six months' imprisonment.
Pc Steve Neill, of Lothian and Borders Police safer communities
department, said: "This has been a problem affecting coastal locations
around the country in recent months, so we are pleased we've managed to
stop illegal shellfish being harvested in the foreshore of Edinburgh before there was any risk to
"We will remain vigilant with regards to this activity, and
anyone caught breaking the law will be dealt with robustly."
An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: "The people
involved in this incident were unaware that they were committing an
"In this instance, they were given a warning under food safety
"However, any repeat offence by these individuals will result
in a report to the procurator fiscal and could therefore result in a £5,000
fine and/or six months' imprisonment."