ON THE night of Saturday 16th August 1890, two men from Alloa went out on their boat into the River Forth near Alloa to fish for salmon. The problem was it was the weekly close time.

James Brown, a fisherman who lived at Lime Tree Walk, and William Allan, of The Shore, were spotted near the left or north bank some 200 yards below the Alloa Old Ballast Jetty, when news got back to Joseph Napier, the superintendent of the Forth District Salmon Fishings in Stirling.

He instructed Sergeant Oliver Derrick to go down to Alloa to watch the poachers.

Shortly after he arrived at South Alloa and accompanied by William Derrick and Neil Fotheringham, they launched a boat and made their way towards Alloa.

However, they were seen approaching and someone shouted, 'Antonia ahoy,' the warning signal to the other nearby boats.

Derrick and his men at this point never saw the boat they were after, but now knew it was there.

They made their way downstream and came across a white painted boat with a man hauling in their nets along with other boats, but it was not Brown and Allan.

They continued downstream when they saw them near the old ballast jetty working the hang or drift net. They were about 20 yards away.

The boat had not been there when they had checked ten minutes earlier.

They approached and Derrick noted it was a hang net, but before he had the chance to identify himself, he was hit by an oar. On the third hit, he recognised Brown, as he knew him quite well.

He got entangled in the net and was unable to apprehend the two men. During the time he was being assaulted, he saw the other poacher assault Fotheringham and William Derrick.

The poachers scurried off and when the fisheries men tried to land, they were threatened and had to remain in their boat.

That September the case came to Alloa Sheriff Court before Sheriff Substitute Tyndall Johnstone. Numerous witnesses were called, but he believed it was proved the two men were in the boat and were illegally fishing.

He said it was not necessary to find the salmon on them but that they were in pursuit of salmon, which had been clearly proven. He passed his judgement with both men found guilty and fined £3 3s each along with £1 3s 9d for expenses.

They were given 14 days to pay the fine.