A CASE was brought before Sheriff Tyndall Johnston in September 1890 on salmon poaching on the River Forth near Alloa.

John Napier, the superintendent of the Forth District of Salmon Fishings of Stirling brought the case.

He accused Robert Bremner, fisherman, George Bain, mason, William Allan, fisherman, William Cousin, fisherman, James Ferguson, fisherman, and James McFarlane, labourer, of having contravened The Salmon Fisheries (Scotland) Act 1868 on Friday, September 5.

He said they had either fishing or attempting to take the fish, or aided or assisted others, in fishing illegally for salmon in the Forth between Alloa Quay and Clackmannan Jetty using boats and nets during the annual close time, when salmon fishing was not permitted.

Napier wanted the men's boats and nets confiscated and any other gear used in fishing, as well as a fine up to but not exceeding £5.

When they were discovered, they had salmon on board, and these were to be confiscated. They were also expected to pay the expenses of bringing the case to the court. No more than six months imprisonment was also put on the table.

The incident happened between midnight and four o'clock in the morning, and one of the first on the scene was Oliver Derrick of the river police, accompanied by Neil Fotheringham.

Some time between 12.30am and 1am, the two men noticed three small boats heading down the river between the Alloa Quay and Clackmannan Jetty. In each of the boats were three men with nets. He could see them clearly as it was a clear moonlight night.

For the next two hours, they watched them and saw two salmon being landed and killed. The men in the boats communicated with each other and each made their way to a smack anchored opposite the Alloa quay where the fish was landed.

Derrick and Fotheringham made their way towards them, where all but one of them had been apprehended by water bailiffs who had been lying in wait on the shore.

The sheriff found that of all the men, Allan seemed to be the most vehement that he was not involved, but in the end he fined them £2 each with 15s each for expenses.

He told them the alternative would be 30 days in prison, but they were allowed to have 14 days to pay up. The boats and nets were also forfeited.

Eventually, a fisherman called Strachan came forward and admitted to being the sixth man.