Prince George’s birthday marked with photo remembering Philip

The future king is perched on the bonnet of a Land Rover Defender in the image taken by his mother the Duchess of Cambridge.

The image was taken outdoors earlier this month in Norfolk. Duchess of Cambridge. via Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The image was taken outdoors earlier this month in Norfolk.

Prince George’s eighth birthday has been marked with a new photograph showing him with an off-road vehicle synonymous with his great-grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh.

The future king is perched on the bonnet of a Land Rover Defender in the image taken by his mother the Duchess of Cambridge.

Philip, who died in April a few months short of his 100th birthday, regularly drove Land Rovers and during his funeral the duke’s coffin was carried by a specially adapted defender which he helped design.

Including the famous vehicle in the image will be seen as a poignant tribute to the late duke, who had a passion for engineering.


George, who celebrates his birthday on Thursday, is pictured beaming at Kate behind the camera in the new photograph, and is casually dressed in a polo-style striped top and shorts.

The duchess is a keen photographer and regularly produces images of George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to mark milestones in her children’s lives.

The image was taken outdoors earlier this month in Norfolk, where the Cambridges have their family home, Anmer Hall, which is close to the Queen’s Sandringham residence.

Kate may have a passion for photography, but she has revealed her children sometimes wish their mother would put her camera down.


Speaking to a finalist of her Hold Still photography contest, the duchess said about George, Charlotte and Louis: “Everyone’s like, ‘Mummy, please stop taking photographs’.”

George has spent the past 12 months living life under lockdown with his siblings and parents and has experienced some unusual things.

Kate has confessed she has been cutting her children’s hair, telling a group of parents in January: “I’ve become a hairdresser this lockdown, much to my children’s horror, seeing mum cutting hair.”

Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, at 4.24pm on July 22 2013, weighing 8lb 6oz.

He made his public debut in front of the world’s media on the hospital steps one day later, wrapped in a white merino wool shawl, cradled in his proud parents’ arms.

A great-grandchild to the Queen, he will be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the crown of England if, as expected, he follows the reigns of his grandfather, the Prince of Wales, and then his father, William.

Drug deaths hit record high in Scotland during pandemic

More than 1300 people died due to drug misuse in Scotland last year, the largest number since records began in 1996.

Stas_V via IStock

More than 1300 people died in Scotland last year as a result of drug misuse – the highest annual figure on record.

Figures published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) reveal 1339 drug-related deaths in 2020 – a 5% increase on the previous year’s statistics and the largest number since records began in 1996.

It is also the seventh year in a row that drug-related deaths have hit record levels.

The country continues to have the worst drug death rate in Europe, with 21.2 deaths per 1000 of the population, more than three-and-a-half times higher than the rest of the UK.


Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the highest drug-related death rate of all health board areas in 2020, followed by Ayrshire and Arran and Tayside.

Deprivation also continued to be a major factor in drug deaths, with those in the poorest areas of the country 18 times more likely to die than their more affluent counterparts, the data showed.

After adjusting for age, people in the most deprived parts of the country were 18 times as likely to die from a drug-related death as those in the least deprived.

Almost two-thirds of all drug-related deaths were of people aged between 35 and 54. Men were 2.7 times as likely to have a drug-related death than women, after adjusting for age.


And opioids remained the number one cause of drug related death in Scotland last year. The NRS figures show that, of the 1339 people who died from drugs in 2020, 1192 were related in some way to opioids.

However, in a sign that more drug users are mixing substances, benzodiazepines – use of which has soared in recent years due to easy availability – were implicated in 974 deaths in 2020.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the number of lives lost to drugs is “unacceptable”.

She tweeted “Each one is a human tragedy. @scotgov does not shirk the responsibility & we are determined to make changes that will save lives .”

She added: “These 2020 figures (though no less shameful because of it) predate actions set out at start of year.

“We now have a dedicated drugs minister in @AConstanceSNP, a substantial funding commitment and action underway to eg ensure faster access to community support, treatment and rehab.

“We will also continue to argue for reform of drugs law, which is not currently within our power.


“Today, my thoughts are with every family who has lost a loved one – I am sorry for the loss you have suffered. However, I know that from @scotgov what is required isn’t words, but action to prevent people dying, and that is what we are determined to deliver.”

The figures were published just over seven months after figures showed more than 1200 drug-related deaths were recorded in 2019, while 1187 drugs-related deaths recorded in 2018.

Scotland has suffered from the worst drug death rate in Europe, with the number of users dying rising in recent years.

The number of drug-related deaths has increased substantially over the last 20 years – there were four-and-a-half times as many deaths in 2020 compared with 2000.

The Scottish Government last year recognised there was a crisis, appointing Angela Constance to a dedicated drug policy ministerial role following the resignation of Joe FitzPatrick as public health minister.

During the STV leaders’ debate ahead of the Holyrood election in May, Sturgeon said the SNP “took its eye off the ball” over drug deaths, adding that she had set a £250m investment programme to build up rehabilitation services.

Constance said: “Once again, the statistics on drug-related deaths are heart-breaking. I want to offer my sincere condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one through drug use.

“We need to gather as much information as we can about drug use in Scotland and to that end, data on suspected drug deaths will be published quarterly from this September. This will ensure we can react more quickly and effectively to this crisis and identify any emerging trends.

Even before the statistics were published, seven leading drugs charities announced their support for a Bill aimed at enshrining in law the right to the addiction treatment requested by the individual.

The draft legislation, put forward by the Scottish Conservatives would mean residential rehab requested by someone dealing with addiction and cleared by their doctor would have to be accepted, or a reason given with 24 hours of the refusal.

Services would also be put in place for the families of those struggling with addiction, under the Tory Bill.

“The drugs crisis is our national shame. It is a stain on Scotland that so many of our most vulnerable people have been left without hope, crushed by a system that is thoroughly broken.”

Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross described the latest statistics as “horrifying and heartbreaking”.

He said: “The drugs crisis is our national shame. It is a stain on Scotland that so many of our most vulnerable people have been left without hope, crushed by a system that is thoroughly broken. 

“This is not a day for political posturing but it is a simple fact that the government’s small steps are not cutting it. The crisis is getting worse and spiralling out of control. We need a united national effort to make the drastic changes necessary to overhaul the broken system. 

“The Scottish Conservatives are bringing forward a Right to Recovery Bill to guarantee in law that everyone who needs treatment can get it.”

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney said: “The latest drug related deaths figures are devastating but not surprising. We have known for a long time that these were going to be shocking, and I send my sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers to every single person impacted and failed by the doomed war on drugs.

“Behind the numbers are real people; families devastated by the untimely, unnecessary and frankly preventable loss of a loved one. We owe it to them to change the system for good, and that will mean working together regardless of political affiliation.

“The reality is that these figures show one person dying every six and a half hours in Scotland in circumstances that were entirely preventable”

Paul Sweeney, Labour MSP

“I’ve seen first-hand, working with the overdose prevention pilot in Glasgow, the trauma experienced by those with drug dependencies and their families. It’s abundantly clear that we cannot continue with the same failed policies of decades gone by – we need radical action and we need it now. That means decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use and the legalisation of safe consumption facilities as a matter of priority.

“I’m sorry that the system has failed so many people and so many families. The reality is that these figures show one person dying every six and a half hours in Scotland in circumstances that were entirely preventable. Now is the time to fix the system that is so clearly broken, not to score political points. 1339 of our fellow citizens have lost their lives unnecessarily – today is about remembering them and committing to the action required to make sure it never happens again.”

“Issuing apologies now is too late for thousands of people. The victims of drugs and their families were failed. It is a scar on the conscience of this Scottish Government.”

Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat healthspokesperson

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said the deaths are a “scar on the consicence” of the Scottish Government.

He said: “Every drug death is preventable. However, that task became ten times harder when SNP ministers avoided the subject ahead of the independence referendum, as that justice secretary admitted, and then cut the budget for critical prevention services by 22%.

“Help and expertise that people relied upon was needlessly surrendered when it should have been expanded. “It was Nicola Sturgeon’s choice to ignore this unfolding epidemic.

“Issuing apologies now is too late for thousands of people. The victims of drugs and their families were failed. It is a scar on the conscience of this Scottish Government.”

Drug deaths vigil held as Scots figures reach record high

Families and campaigners gathered in Glasgow to remember all the men and women who have lost their lives to drugs.

STV News

A vigil for people who have died as a result of drugs has taken place after Scotland recorded its highest annual number of drug deaths on record.

Families and campaigners gathered to remember all the men and women who have lost their lives to drugs.

The event, organised by Faces and Voices of Recovery, kicked off at 1pm at the Royal Concert Hall Steps on Glasgow’s Buchanan street.

STV News
People pay tribute to those who have lost their lives.

It was scheduled on the same day as the drug death statistics for Scotland as campaigners are calling out for the Scottish Government to do more to prevent the issue.


Drug rehab campaigner Annemarie Ward, who is in long-term recovery from addiction, told the Scottish Government “talk is cheap” as she joined others affected to demand change.

Ms Ward and her group Faces And Voices Of Recovery (Favor) UK has backed Scottish Tory proposals to introduce a Right to Recovery Bill enshrining in law the right of Scots to get the drug treatment they request.

Ms Ward hit out at a speech made at the event by drugs minister Angela Constance in which she referenced the Deacon Blue song Dignity and promised to “climb the mountain and turn the tide” of drug deaths, without pledging any specific action.

Ms Ward said: “I think Angela is doing the rounds. She’s talking to a lot of people and listening to a lot of people, but talk’s cheap.


“We can talk all day long and people can listen all day long, but unless we start to take action, nothing changes.

“Angela was talking about ‘a ship called Dignity’ and she was using a variety of different analogies and I was just like ‘we’ve got a Bill about to come through parliament, Angela – back that Bill, that will change the law and that will prevent our local authorities and our NHS and anybody else who is withholding actual treatment, it will make them actually help people.

“It will force our current system to change and, at the moment, those turkeys aren’t going to vote for Christmas.

“Those services are rationalising, justifying and defending the status quo – they don’t know how to deliver recovery and they need to get the experts in that do.”

Speaking at the emotionally charged memorial service, Ms Constance told the assembled crowd – some of whom had experienced addiction themselves: “My focus is on turning fine words into action.”

She added: “The ship has been sailing in the wrong direction for 20 years and its been getting worse, not better year after year.

“I want to convey to you my utter commitment and what we need is a culture of change and a culture of compassion.


“If you are as old as me, you will remember that song about a ship called Dignity and we all know what it’s going to take to turn that ship around.”

Figures published by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) reveal 1339 drug-related deaths in 2020 – a 5% increase on the previous year’s statistics and represent the largest number since records began in 1996.

The country continues to have the worst drug death rate in Europe, with 21.2 deaths per 1000 of the population, more than three-and-a-half times higher than the rest of the UK.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the number of lives lost to drugs is “unacceptable”.

She tweeted “Each one is a human tragedy. @scotgov does not shirk the responsibility & we are determined to make changes that will save lives .”

‘Darren was just a wee fella whose life went off the rails’

Brother remembered on the day Scotland reveals its latest drug-death figures.

STV News

Donna Morrison tries hard to remember her brother Darren Conway before drugs came into their lives.

But as Scotland revealed record drug-death figures on Friday, what she can’t forget is the chaos his addiction caused.

Darren had been on the brink of going into rehab when lockdown scuppered his chances – within a year, he was dead.

“When we were young, he looked after me, he was my hero,” Donna says. “I’ll be forever grateful for that. He was my brother, Darren Conway, just a wee fella whose life went off the rails.”


‘I lived in hope’

Darren, who’d been staying in a Glasgow hostel, died aged 49 on March 17 following a history of drug addiction stretching back to his early 20s.

Despite having worked before, attempts to save his life using the overdose-reversing medication Naloxone failed, and he died in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest.

While Donna is still waiting for the results of official toxicology reports to confirm what was in his system, she knows he took heroin, methadone and other substances such as etizolam, known as Street Valium.


“He was my brother,” she says. “I just lived in hope he would one day turn that corner.”

STV News
Darren and Donna

‘The change was drastic’

After growing up in Irvine, North Ayrshire, the siblings left home around the same time – but while Donna only moved three miles away, Darren headed to Glasgow, where his life became caught in a “downward spiral”.

Donna had children and raised a family, losing touch with Darren as he became homeless; sleeping rough and ending up in prison.

“When I got back in contact with him after a gap of around three years, the change was drastic,” she says. “He didn’t even look like my brother anymore. You could tell his lifestyle had consumed him.

“He had Hep C first, then HIV and his girlfriend passed away in 2015 with drugs. She was only 30. He lost one of his good friends to drugs too, but all that never stopped him.

“To me, it wasn’t that he didn’t want help, but getting the right support was difficult.”


‘Hurdles are too high’

In December 2019, Donna learned through social media that Darren had been taken into hospital with a severe chest infection. Together with a friend who was also a drug support worker, plans were made to secure him a rehab place with the charity Teen Challenge.  

“You always know when people want to go into recovery,” the support worker, Darren Anderson, says. “Darren had that spark when he was lying in hospital, but no one has the strength to run before they can walk.

“It’s not even that there are too many hurdles – the hurdles are too high.”


First, Darren had to reduce his methadone intake before he could be accepted for rehab. He managed this in hospital, but as soon as he was discharged, he went “back to square one” as his prescription was increased.

Then the pandemic took hold and the first lockdown was imposed in March 2020 – just as Darren was on the cusp of getting proper help.

“We got the paperwork done, we signed him up, got him linked in with rehab and Darren was buying into it,” recalls Donna. “But as we were under lockdown, I couldn’t travel to Glasgow to see him, so I was ordering shopping and getting a supermarket to deliver it to him at the hostel. 

“In our last phone call, we spoke about the food parcel and I said ‘once restrictions are lifted, I’ll come up and see you’.  

“A couple of weeks later, I got the phone call to say that he was gone.”

Instead of making plans for rehab, Darren Anderson was instead helping to lead a funeral service.

STV News
Darren Anderson

“I don’t even know if there are words to describe how I felt,” he says. “You can lose hope yourself. You think ‘what is the point?’.

“You know you can do good things in your community and can get results. You see people getting better, getting into rehab in the right circumstances, getting the right care plan, and then something like this happens and it sets you back.”

Donna has been left with unanswered questions and wants other families to be spared her pain; she asks herself all the time if she could have done more, or done something differently.

But she says: “I was one person, one person for one other person with huge issues. You can’t do that alone, you need help, you need support, you need consistency.”

‘I hope he’s at peace now’

Donna was allowed to scatter some of Darren’s ashes in the grounds of Sunnybrae in Aberdeen, the rehab centre where it was hoped he would have received help to beat his addiction.  

“They didn’t know Darren, they never even met him, but they are now also allowing us to put a photo of him on their memorial wall,” she says.

STV News
Donna Morrison spreads his brother’s ashes at the rehab centre.

“I don’t know if he’d have made it to rehab or not, but I lived in hope my brother could have turned that corner.

“He has a more settled place in death than he did in life. I hope he’s at peace now.”

Scotland’s seventh drowning victim as man dies in hospital

Aman Sharma got into difficulty in Loch Lubnaig, near Callander, at around 3pm last Sunday.

© Google Maps 2020
Loch Lubnaig: The 34-year-old died in hospital.

A man has died in hospital bringing the total of deaths from a weekend of drowning tragedies in Scotland to seven.

Aman Sharma got into difficulty in Loch Lubnaig, near Callander, at around 3pm last Sunday.

Emergency services attended and the 34-year-old, from Edinburgh, was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow where he died two days later.

Six others died in Scottish waters that same weekend.


The youngest victim was a boy of nine, while an 11 and 13-year-old also died as well as a 41-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman.

The first of the seven fatalities occurred on Friday evening, when a 16-year-old boy died in the water at Balloch Country Park, at the south end of Loch Lomond.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 3pm on Sunday, officers were called Loch Lubnaig, near Callander, where a 34-year-old man had gotten into difficulty while in the water. 

“He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow where he died on Tuesday, 27 July.


“There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a full report will be forwarded to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Charles samples dram of whisky on flying visit to Shetland

It was the first time Charles had set foot in the islands since he opened the Shetland Museum and Archives in 2007.

Jane Barlow via PA Ready
Prince of Wales paid a flying visit to Shetland

The Prince of Wales has paid a flying visit to Shetland, where he sampled a dram of whisky and praised the islands’ fishing industry.

It was the first time Charles had set foot in the islands since he opened the Shetland Museum and Archives in 2007, after two recently planned visits were foiled.

The trip concluded two days of engagements in the north of Scotland for the prince, whose title in Scotland is the Duke of Rothesay, after he spent Thursday in Caithness.

During the trip, he opened the new Lerwick and Scalloway fish markets.


The markets have been operational since the middle of 2020 and it had originally been intended for the prince to carry out the unveiling last summer but it was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

He had also been scheduled to visit Shetland in 2019 but his aeroplane broke down, and he joked that it “used to be much easier to come here” when he was travelling on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

During his main engagement at the new Lerwick Fish Market, Charles observed fish landings, toured the facilities and visited the auction hall during a tour of the £7.6m complex, before sampling a dram of Scottish whisky.

Prior to officially unveiling plaques to open the Lerwick and Scalloway markets, Charles said it was a “great privilege” and the competition of the two facilities “reflects the fact that the fishing industry and its traditions remain a real cornerstone to the economy and way of life to the Shetland people”.


“It still remains, to me anyway, an amazing statistic to know that more fish pass through the Shetland Isles than England, Northern Ireland and Wales put together,” he told the industry figures and dignitaries gathered outside the fish market.

“I suspect many people don’t realise that.

“And it’s also wonderful, if I may say so, to know that Shetland is leading the way with its state-of-the-art electronic auction facilities. And unlike so many other fish markets, the auction system in Shetland links up to buyers across the world to sell its splendid fresh fish products.”

The Shetland Fish Producers Organisation’s chief executive Brian Isbister said it was a “great privilege” to welcome the duke, and the opening of the two markets “signifies a proud moment for all of us here”.

On the anniversary of the first landings at the new market, Lerwick Port Authority’s chairman George Anderson said: “It is a great honour to host the Duke of Rothesay’s visit to open both markets.

“The visit coincides with the anniversary of the first landings and marks what has been a successful, if challenging, first year due to Covid.

“The construction of the Lerwick Fish Market was the climax of a lengthy, co-ordinated programme of projects, involving dredging and building quays, designed to future-proof the market’s role in helping to sustain and develop the fishing industry’s contribution to the Shetland economy.”


Charles was also welcomed to Lerwick Town Hall by representatives of Shetland Islands Council, which invested £5.6m in Scalloway Fish Market.

Later in the afternoon, he paid a visit to Scalloway’s NAFC Marine Centre, which is in the process of merging with Shetland College to form a single college, Shetland UHI.

There he met students, staff and apprentices and saw research and engineering facilities, as well as experiencing the NAFC’s naval simulator, before meeting representatives from the Shetland RNLI.

Charles, who seemed comfortably at ease in the surroundings and engaged warmly with those he met throughout the visit, then rounded off his time in the islands by being shown around Uradale Farm by farmer Ronnie Eunson.

On Thursday, he visited Caithness and met volunteer beach cleaners on Scrabster Beach, patted some dogs at a vets and toured the newly restored House of the Northern Gate in Thurso.

Daughter’s distress at hotel quarantine while dad is dying

Claire Herriot flew back to Scotland from red-list Turkey after hearing that her dad only had a short time left to live.

Contributed via Claire Heriot
Claire Herriot has flown back to see her dad in hospital.

By Louise Scott and Kevin Scott

A journalist who flew back to Scotland to visit her dying dad has described her distress at being stuck in a quarantine hotel during his last days.

Claire Herriot landed in the country from red-list Turkey earlier this week after receiving news that her dad, Gordon, was nearing the end of his life at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

Under current Scottish Government rules, arrivals from red-list countries are mandated to quarantine in a hotel for ten days but temporary release can be facilitated for people visting relatives receiving end-of-life care.


But Claire has only received a one-off compassionate visit to see her dad, which she found to be an upsetting experience that has been exacerbated by her enforced isolation at a hotel in Edinburgh.

She said: “I came back on the understanding I have a one-off compassionate visit. My logic was I’ll do that visit as soon as possible and then I’ll have seen him and if he does die at least I will have seen him.

“When I got back from the hospital I was very upset because as far as I was concerned I was potentially seeing my father for the last time under these circumstances – and he didn’t understand why I was leaving, he seemed to think my concern was he was going to give me germs, so that was upsetting because that obviously wasn’t what I was trying to convey to him but he didn’t really understand.

“So when I got back to the hotel I was so distraught and distressed that I decided it’s not enough to just see him once. I won’t get out of here again potentially until August 7 and I’ve got letters from doctors supporting my request to leave isolation for a compassionate reason, saying he’s unlikely to still be alive on August 7, so that is how I found myself in this situation.”


Claire is now calling on the Scottish Government to let her visit her dad in hospital again, as well as provide support for her deteriorating mental health.

“I am a patient as well because I am saying that my mental health is suffering in this situation,” said Claire.

“They have left documents in this hotel room, which say if you, the person in quarantine, if your mental health is suffering to such a degree that you need to leave quarantine then that can be evaluated and so far I’m not being able to get that evaluated, so I’m saying I make that threshold and therefore I should be able to leave and that’s where it is getting difficult.

“Had I not got that visit agreed I wouldn’t be in this hotel room. Under those circumstances I would rather have stayed in Istanbul with my partner and been with him when I got this news, rather than being alone in hotel quarantine. My partner’s American, therefore, he can’t come to the UK from a red zone, he’s not got a British passport.

“I’m just really shocked by the responses I’ve had from the Scottish Government. I feel like they’re not getting it. There’s been some movement on the possibility of seeing my dad again but I have to wait for further tests, for the results of further tests to come back, and I don’t know if he’s still going to be alive at that point. I also feel like for myself that I meet the threshold of a very substantial detriment to my health of being in this facility and I can’t access the help that they’re telling me is available.”

Contributed via Claire Heriot
Claire Herriot with her dad.

The Scottish Government said Claire had been provided with a plan to visit her father upon arrival in Scotland and is willing to facilitate a way of allowing her to see him again.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the need to facilitate temporary release from managed isolation in order to support family visiting for those receiving end of life care.  This is why the regulations do allow for an individual who is quarantining in Scotland to see a close family member or friend for a visit when relating to the end of a person’s life.


“Ms Herriot was provided with a visit to see her father upon arrival in Scotland and we are more than willing to facilitate a visit plan to enable Ms Herriot to visit her father on subsequent occasions. We have said Ms Herriot may visit her father upon day two and eight provided she has negative test results.

“However, the current regulations require that persons authorised to make end of life visits must return to managed isolation following the visit.

“International travel restrictions including the use of managed isolation remains necessary to limit the importation of the virus and variants of concern.

“There are very limited exemptions to the quarantine rules. Overseas travellers are urged to be aware of the international travel restrictions in place before they travel.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Annie Wells, said: “This is a heartbreaking story and SNP ministers must step in urgently. There are clear grounds for the government being flexible on a case like this.

“With travel restrictions easing, there are cases where exemptions to quarantine rules should be made. This is one of them.”

Six people charged in crackdown on wildlife crime

The alleged incidents all took place in the north east in the past month.

Owen Humphreys via PA Ready
Police have charged six people.

Police have charged six people with poaching offences as part of a drive against wildlife crime, codenamed Operation Wingspan.

The alleged incidents all took place in the north east in the past month.

Four men were alleged to have been fishing without permission at the River Deveron at around 8.50pm on Monday July 5.

The river is routinely used to fish for salmon and trout and requires a permit to do so legally.


Following inquiries, four men were traced and charged in connection with the incident and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

In a separate incident, officers received a report of possible salmon poaching in the Craigellachie area of Aberlour around 5pm on Saturday July 24.

Two boys, aged 14 and 16, have been charged in connection with this.

Police Constable Hannah Haywood, the North East’s wildlife crime liaison officer, said: “Operation Wingspan is a campaign to prevent wildlife crime. As part of this, we also work closely with partners to raise awareness of these types of offences and their impact.


“Fish poaching can be highly damaging and impacts Scotland’s vulnerable fish stocks.

“Anyone with any concerns around wildlife crime in their area is asked to report it to officers.”

Man who threatened MP Joanna Cherry on Twitter sentenced

Cherry contacted police over a threat on February 1, the day she was dropped from her party’s front bench team at Westminster.

Jonathan Brady via PA Ready
Threats: SNP MP Joanna Cherry.

A man who sent threatening Twitter messages to SNP MP Joanna Cherry has been ordered not to contact her for five years.

Grant Karte, 30, has also been given a community payback order, supervised for 15 months, with 160 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Cherry contacted police over a threat on February 1, the day she was dropped from her party’s front bench team at Westminster in a reshuffle.

Karte, 30, previously admitted sending Twitter messages on February 1 that were “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character” in that he repeatedly threatened Cherry contrary to the Communications Act 2003.


Sentencing Karte at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Friday, Sheriff Alistair Noble said: “You pled guilty to a serious charge, a charge involving threatening a member of parliament.

“Your threat carried implications of violence and one interpretation of what was said was sexual violence.”

Sheriff Noble said he took the view that it was not necessary to impose a period of custody and imposed a community payback order instead, but warned Karte that if he breaches the order he will have to return to court.

Cherry, the Edinburgh South West MP, had been the SNP justice and home affairs spokeswoman at Westminster until the reshuffle in February.


Sheriff Noble also imposed a five-year non-harassment order on Karte which bars him from contacting Cherry from July 30.

Defence agent Simon Collins, representing Karte, said a psychiatric report prepared ahead of the sentencing was positive and “reflects on his regret and remorse regarding the incident.”

Priest who sexually abused two schoolboys jailed

Denis Alexander preyed on the boys during yoga classes and at his study in Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands.

STV News
Alexander preyed on the boys during yoga classes and at his study.

A priest who was brought back from Australia has been jailed for four years and five months for sexually abusing two former pupils at a school more than four decades ago.

Former monk Denis Alexander, 85, assaulted the children while teaching at Fort Augustus Abbey school in the Highlands during the 1970s.

Alexander preyed on the boys during yoga classes and at his study in the institution.

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have brought lasting shame on the Order of which you were a member.


“You plead guilty to the sexual abuse of two young boys who were between 12 and 14 in 1973 until 1976. You were 37 to 40 years of age at the time.

“That abuse is aggravated by the age of your victims and position of trust and authority resulting from your status as a teacher and as a monk.

“These vulnerable young boys were entrusted to your care and what you did was a gross abuse of the trust placed in you as a teacher.”

Lord Burns said it was also in “flagrant disregard” of the principles and beliefs which Alexander was duty bound to follow as a Benedictine monk.


The judge acknowledged that he had no criminal record prior to or since the offending and was now in poor health.

He told him he would have faced a five-and-a-half year prison term but for his guilty pleas. Lord Burns backdated the sentence to January 23, 2017. Alexander has been in custody since then.

The judge told the Australian citizen that he would be subject to deportation. Alexander later left Scotland and became a priest in Sydney where he initially contested a bid to extradite over his crimes.

Efforts to bring him to justice after a BBC documentary called Sins of Our Fathers was shown in 2013. His victims found the courage to contact the police.

Alexander was returned to Scotland almost three years after an extradition request was first sent to the Australian authorities.

He admitted two charges of indecent behaviour against the boys at the High Court in Edinburgh last month after being brought into the building in a wheelchair.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson QC told the court: “These offences committed by this accused Denis Alexander are a snapshot of what is believed to be wider systemic abuse of children within the Fort Augustus Abbey School and its preparatory school Carlekemp, also run by the Benedictine Order.


The prosecutor said the school was a subject of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry during 2019 and the English Benedictine Congregation accepted physical and sexual abuse of children took place.

Alexander was known as Father Chrysotum when he taught at the Highland institution, where he also tutored pupils in bagpipe playing.

His first victim, now aged 60, was about 13-years-old when Alexander summoned him to his study and pushed his hand down the victim’s trousers and molested him between September 1973 and June 1974.

The second victim, now aged 58, was subjected to abuse  after the monk asked him to join a yoga group which was held in part of the monastery.

He was aged around 12 to 13 at the time of the abuse in the mid 1970s.He found himself alone with Alexander who molested him while he was supporting the boy in a headstand.

The pupil was also forced to carry out a sex act on him.

He told the headteacher, but the police did not become involved.

Alexander left the school during the 1970s and stopped being a practising Benedictine monk, but remained a priest and moved to Australia.

Ms Farquharson said: “He came to the attention of the police as a result of a BBC documentary screened in the summer of 2013 called Sins of Our Fathers that focused on life within both institutions.” 

The Crown Office requested his extradition in August 2016 and a warrant was issued by an Australian court in January the following year.

But Alexander did not consent to his return to Scotland to face justice.

After further legal proceedings he did not continue to fight the move and came back to the UK in January 2020.

Ms Farquharson said: “Significant delays were occasioned in bringing the accused to Scotland as a result of his opposition to the extradition process.”

Defence solicitor advocate Shahid Latif said: “He is sorry and he can do no more than he has done and that is to have plead guilty.”

He said that Alexander had been in “a stressful working environment” at the time of the offending and worked long hours seven days a week.

Alexander watched today’s sentencing proceedings via a video link to prison.

He was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

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