UK divers admit theft from wreck, face up to 6 years behind bars

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    Three British divers have admitted taking artefacts from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean in 2002.

    Peter Devlin, Steve Russ and Malcolm Cubin, from Cornwall, admitted illegally removing artefacts from the wreck, at a court in Santiago, Spain.

    They also admitted planning to damage Spain’s cultural heritage. They each received a suspended one-year jail sentence and were fined £900.

    Prosecutors had initially sought a six-year jail term for the men.

    They admitted recovering bottles, tiles and broken china from the shipwreck which was off the coast of Galicia but said they were taking them simply to identify the wreck.

    They were initially accused of taking and hiding a haul of gold and diamonds which they have denied.

    The team were recovering tin ingots from the wreck of a Dutch vessel, but were accused of straying onto another wreck.

    Mr Devlin, from Falmouth, Mr Cubin, from Truro, and Mr Russ, from Helston, had gone to Spain to work on the wreck of the Friesland, a Dutch vessel which sank in the Atlantic in the late 19th Century.

    They said they were working on a salvage contract awarded by the Spanish government.

    news.bbc.co.uk

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