An attempt by a man to find love by releasing thousands bottles containing romantic messages has backfired after he was reported to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
Widower Craig Sullivan, who is 49 and originally from North Lanarkshire, took 2,000 bottles to beaches and rivers.
However, his efforts resulted in him being reported for littering in the River Cree in Dumfries and Galloway.
Sepa said the bottles had since been removed from the river by locals.
Mr Sullivan, who runs a consultancy company in London, said he embarked upon his plan to send thousands of messages in the bottles following the death of his wife Julia from breast cancer 18 months ago.
‘Noble in intensions’
He said he wanted to find someone for companionship and that he had been inspired by The Police song Message in a Bottle.
Writing on his blog, he said: “I decided to do something about it.
“Using any of the normal channels for this sort of thing (dating sites, friends, matchmaking services) seemed clichéd or somehow less elegant, less noble in intentions than my own mind.”
He added: “So, armed with maps, tidal tables, a motorhome, 4G data, provisions and a week driving around the UK, I might just be able to send them to beaches across the world.”
Mr Sullivan reportedly released about 200 bottles into the River Cree near Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway.
That resulted in an angry message from one Newton Stewart resident who wrote: “Sepa informed of you fly tipping into the river Cree salmon hatchery, your total disregard for our beautiful clean river is palpable. Don’t come back to Newton Stewart your not welcome. Incidentally all bottles recovered from the Cree hatchery.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the environment agency said: “Our officers are comfortable that there is no environmental risk to the River Cree as a result of the bottles being released and, following inquiries, understand almost all of the bottles were contained and removed from the river fairly quickly by local residents.”
Mr Sullivan embarked on his week-long journey around the UK on 20 July, stopping in Wales and at Hinkley Point before driving on to Scotland.
‘Harmful to nature’
However, rather than drawing potential partners, his efforts resulted in a backlash, with one woman writing to him: “Hi Craig, I love how romantic your idea is but please reconsider putting all of these into the sea, lots of us spend hours picking up beach litter.
“How about joining a big beach clean, you may pick up a hobby & meet someone there too? We deserve love & clean beaches!
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Another person wrote: “Can we get this half-wit arrested, stopped, educated or something? I simply cannot believe he can put this rubbish in the ocean unpunished.”
Mr Sullivan replied to the criticism by writing: “There have been no more bottles since my last post, whilst I rethink and find a better way. I have at least 2 ideas already from people.”
Sepa said it was satisfied that the issue had been resolved and said that it did not intend to pursue any further action against Mr Sullivan.