The leader of a fishermen’s association today told of the community’s upset at finding out their boats had been torched.
A building was set alight at Cove Harbour in the early hours of yesterday, with firefighters and police officers attending the blaze around 2.50am.
The incident is being treated as suspicious, with five boats as well as fishing gear destroyed.
Jim Adam, leader of the Cove Fishermen’s Association, said: “There were five boats damaged, totally burned out.
“Some of the sheds have been damaged from the fire, some of the engine sheds.
“The fire forensic team were down there so you can’t really get over to have a look, but you can see that the boats are gone.
“My son’s boat was totally burned, but thankfully my boat wasn’t. I usually take it up to the house to paint as it’s a wooden boat.
“I’ve spoken to the fishermen, they’re a bit upset.
“It’s a seasonal thing, but even so, it’s a big upset, there’s a lot of investment that’s gone into the boats.
“It’s someone with extreme vindictiveness.
“I guess the next thing is to let the police and fire service do their investigation.”
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A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We got the call at 2.51am to a shed on fire at Cove Harbour.
“We mobilised two appliances to the scene, and the stop message came in at 3.10am.”
Detective Constable Wilma Ritchie said: “We are investigating this incident, however I would also appeal to anyone with information to get in touch as soon as possible. I would be particularly interested in hearing from anyone who saw any vehicles leaving the harbour area or that were in the vicinity of Old Cove at that time. Please contact Police on 101 and quote ref. no. CF0003930119 or alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
It comes as another blow to the fishermen of Cove, who lost their legal battle to dock their small fleet at Cove Harbour in July last year.
They had been locked in a four-year legal battle with Pralhad Kolhe, who owned the land and sought to evict the men and their boats.
Councillor Stephen Flynn, who represents the area, said: “Like everyone I’ve spoken to within the community, I was stunned to learn about the fire at the harbour.
“The fishermen have been fighting so hard, for so long, to retain access to their historic fishing grounds and my thoughts are with them. I would really encourage anyone who has any information to contact the police in order to assist with their inquiries.”