A ROW is brewing over the fate of a mystery anchor which was salvaged from the depths of the sea off Sandsend.
It is thought the anchor could be hundreds of years old and was discovered by charter boat skipper Jon Whitton when it became tangled with his lobster pots.
Along with son Richard, they managed to haul it into their boat, Never Can Tell A, and they left it on the beach at Sandsend so they could pick it up later.
But it got carted off on the back of a tractor and initially Jon was worried it had been taken by someone who was going to trade it in for scrap value.
It later turned out it had been taken by Scarborough Borough Council’s beach cleaning team, much to Jon’s relief, but now he is concerned about where the anchor will go from there and the possibility he may be landed with a £2,500 fine.
Jon said: “We got it up onto Sandsend beach and left it there to deal with later while we attended to the pots.
“The next thing we saw was it being dragged away by a tractor.”
The anchor, the origins of which remain unknown, is now in the possession of SBC and is being stored by the authority.
But the skipper is adamant the anchor should remain in Whitby permanently because of the history and heritage attached to it.
He added: “It’s at least a hundred years old and could even be much older.
“It needs to be properly investigated and may have to be carbon dated to establish its age.
“The old wooden sailing ships used to come much closer inshore than ships do now and many were wrecked.
“Their remains rot away on the seabed and little is left of them except things like the anchors.”
“We found it off Whitby and it should be kept on secure display here where local people and visitors can see it.
“It would be a bit much if it ends up in Scarborough or in somebody’s private garden.”
But unless Jon can raise the anchor quickly and take photographs and measurements of it to complete a report for the Receiver of Wreck within the next 28 days, he faces a fine of £2,500 – the penalty for not reporting any such find.
John Woodhead, Scarborough Borough Council’s northern area engineer, said: “We removed the old anchor as we would do with any wreckage found on the beach.
“It is now in our safe keeping until we can find an appropriate use for it that will benefit the town.”