Stowaways on CalMac ferries discovered trying to evade lockdown

Golfers heading for Cumbrae found hiding in the back of a van, The Scotsman has learned.

The golfers were found hiding in a van on the Largs-Cumbrae ferry. Picture: John Devlin.

Passengers have been found hidden in vehicles on board several CalMac ferries trying to evade a ban on non-essential island travel.

The revelation comes as tensions rise off the west coast where residents are barred from visiting relatives on the mainland, unlike the rest of Scotland.

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The stowaways include a group of golfers in a van on the crossing between Largs and Cumbrae.

Two other people were discovered in the rear footwells of a car on a ferry heading from Arran to the mainland.

They are understood to have been islanders trying to get off the island.

In both cases, the stowaways are believed to have been found by ferry staff after they were reported by other people, perhaps after becoming aware of their plans.

They were all prevented from travelling.

A ferry source said: “Some people are going stir crazy after being refused the ability to travel for more than two months.”

CalMac director of operations Robert Morrison said: “As per Scottish Government guidelines, travel to our islands remains for essential purposes only.

“We have had some occasions when people have tried to gain passage to or from our islands by concealing themselves in vehicles.

“Anybody found to be doing so will be not be allowed to travel.

“We would again encourage people to behave responsibly and respect the wishes of island communities until guidelines allow for non-essential travel.”

Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie said: “It’s understandable people want to travel to our spectacular islands, but they must appreciate that these are living, breathing communities.

“I commend the efforts of Calmac’s staff and urge people to stay away for now.

“They can be assured they will be welcomed with open arms once the threat of the virus has passed.”

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