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Fishermen are attacked by a fleet of 18 French trawlers in the Channel

Shell shocker: These French trawlers were among 18 that attacked two British boats PICTURE: SWNS

IN THE pitch-dark, lit only by their deck lights, French trawlermen launch an attack on UK counterparts fishing for scallops in the Channel.

Around 18 French vessels surrounded two boats from Brixham, Devon, firing flares and throwing oil, rocks and even frying pans at them.

Brian ‘Winkle’ Whittington, 43, skipper of the Golden Promise, said he and Scott Glover, at the helm of the Girl Macey, were about two miles apart when they were attacked.

‘I had two or three boats around me, Scott had 15 around him throwing oil and firing flares,’ he said.

The attack is said to have been sparked by British scallopers being allowed to fish year-round while the French are banned between May 15 and October 1.