Shane Barton, who is the owner and skipper of the Nicky Noo, was sentenced to 15 months after pleading guilty to safety offences

A judge has sent the owner and skipper of the Nicky Noo to prison after he pleaded guilty to four charges under maritime safety laws.

His Honour Judge Lawrie said 42-year-old Shane Barton was complacent and arrogant, that his failings were deliberate and he had cut corners.

He added that Barton had a cavalier attitude to the safety of the crew and the vessel.

The skipper of the UK-registered Nicky Noo pleaded guilty at Plymouth Crown Court to three charges of the unsafe operation of a fishing vessel and one charge of breaching a Prohibition Notice requiring him to have completed the required safety training.

He was sentenced to a total of 12 months for fishing safety offences and a three month suspended sentence for fisheries offences activated.

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The court heard that on several occasions between 22 May 2014 and 20 October 2016 in Christchurch (Dorset), Fowey (Cornwall) and Castlebridge (Devon) respectively, Barton was subject to enforcement action from various fisheries agencies and police.

Information supplied about various incidents that happened between 22 May 2014 and 13 February 2016 showed that Barton was operating without navigation lights, safety equipment and properly trained skipper and crew.

On the 16 October 2016, the safety certification for the Nicky Noo expired, but the vessel was seen operating by a local fisheries officer four days later.

The fishing boat was subsequently reported to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA).

In a media release following the court case on 17 February 2017, the MCA said its investigation was greatly assisted by Southern IFCA, Devon & Severn IFCA, Cornwall IFCA, Marine Management Organisation, Environment Agency, Dorset Police and Devon & Cornwall Police.

The area operations manager for the south west with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Tony Heslop, said: “The operation of a vessel at night without navigation lights is not only illegal but is a foolhardy and dangerous act.”

“It not only placed his own vessel in danger but those operating around him too,” stressed the manager.

“This case shows that agencies operation in the maritime world can and do work together to improve safety at sea. I would like to thank all the agencies involved in this case for their help and assistance in bring this matter to a successful conclusion,” stressed Heslop.

Barton has previously been convicted of offences relating to illegal fishing activity.

In October 2013, he was fined £13,500 after he pleaded guilty to five fishing offences including unlicensed fishing and landing juvenile sea bass.

The court heard that he had fished illegally 22 times, making £8,600.

In December 2014, Barton was fined £400 for using an illegally-set net on the River Camel in Cornwall.

In June 2016, Barton was given a £104,147 confiscation order at Bournemouth Crown Court after he was caught fishing illegally in a harbour.

He pleaded guilty, and was handed a three-month prison sentence suspended for 24 months and a 12-month supervision order.