Cockle fisherman sunk after compensation claim rejected

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The High Court has thrown out a compensation claim after a fisherman alleged administration delays prevented him from harvesting rich cockle beds in Morecambe Bay.

Harold Benson, of Flookburgh, Cumbria, complained his application for a permit to send a group of 30 Eastern European workers to fish the bay collapsed due to the time it took the Sea Fisheries Commission to process it.

However, the High Court in Manchester rejected the claim, finding there was no case to answer. They ordered Mr Benson to pay defence costs, estimated at between £25,000 and £30,000.

Mr Benson claimed loss of earnings from the North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority - which took over from the Sea Fisheries Commission - because he believed his application had not been processed in a reasonable time. He accused the authority of being negligent and malicious towards him in the way the permit scheme was administered.

But the court heard the applications, received in December 2006, had been processed fairly and as quickly as possible. Delays resulted from the applicants failing to provide proper addresses and national insurance numbers.




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