Speedboat casualties were suspected puppy smugglers – BBC News

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Media captionSpeedboat casualties suspected of puppy smuggling

Two men who died in a speedboat coincidence off the west coast of Scotland at the weekend were suspected puppy smugglers, it has emerged.

Sandy Hamilton, 35, and Kevin James McKinley, 46, both of Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, were gathered from the sea off the Galloway coast on Sunday.

BBC Scotland is felt that both men were suspected by the authorities of being involved in the illegal puppy trade.

Mr Hamilton also faced contest over the deaths of two beings in a superhighway crash.

He was accused of causing death by dangerous driving after a head-on gate-crash killed 85 -year-old Giovanni Coppolaro and his wife Maria, 83, from St Ives, Cambridgeshire, in July 2015.

Mr Hamilton and Mr McKinley were reported missing on Saturday evening after failing to return from a boat trip-up from Port Logan, Wigtownshire.

Police strengthened on Sunday that their bodies had been recovered from the Irish Sea.

Officers are still trying to determine the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

Image caption The BBC secured footage of Sandy Hamilton being stopped in 2015 on a shuttle from Northern Ireland
Image caption Puppies were found in the boot of Mr Hamilton’s car, but he was allowed to continue on his wander

BBC Scotland was discovered that both men were known to the authorities in connection with the illegal trade of puppies from the Republic of Ireland.

A major route for the craft envisions vehicles transporting puppies across the Irish sea by ferrying into Scotland.

A BBC Panorama investigation into the trade – Britain’s Puppy Trader Uncovered – was broadcast last year.

The programme acquired footage which proved Sandy Hamilton being set out in September 2015 on a boat from Northern Ireland.

A concealment of puppies was found in the boot of his gondola and on that reason he was allowed to continue on his expedition and keep the dogs.

The stop was carried out by the Scottish SPCA as part of Operation Delphin.

This multi-agency initiative, which includes Stena Line, Police Scotland, Trading Guidelines and HM Revenue and Customs was set up to tackle the puppy trade business and shield the wellbeing of puppies and their engender.

It is now believed that Mr Hamilton and Mr McKinley may have been on their road to collect more puppies in a speedboat at the weekend when the fatal accident happened.

Illegal trade

BBC Scotland is felt that Mr Hamilton’s mas was recovered, along with a substantial amount of cash.

Police Scotland would not comment.

A Scottish SPCA undercover inspector told the BBC: “Puppy trafficking has been monitored for some time under Operation Delphin and we have identified a particular road between Scotland and Ireland.

“Operation Delphin has gained success address the illegal trade involving puppy trafficking in an attempt to improve animal welfare.

“We have ascertained the perpetrators develop more elaborate ways to source puppies undetected.”

Image copyright Coppolaro family
Image caption Mr Hamilton was accused of inducing the deaths by dangerous driving of Giovanni and Maria Coppolaro

Mr Hamilton were attributed to stand contest on the demise by hazardous driving charge in July 2017.

Mr and Mrs Coppolaro had been travelling in a Jaguar car on the A73 in North Lanarkshire when it was hit by a Volkswagen Golf being driven by Mr Hamilton.

He had repudiated overtaking a lorry on a crouch when it was unsafe to do so.

Mr Hamilton was also accused of driving without insurance.

Read more: www.bbc.co.uk

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