A SKIPPER who sailed at night without navigation lights or safety equipment has been jailed.

Shane Barton was caught at the helm of the Nicky Noo on a number of occasions between May 22 2014 and October 20 2016 when the fishing vessel contravened safety laws.

The 42-year-old was caught by enforcement officers in Christchurch, as well as Fowey in Cornwall and Castlebridge in Devon, operating without navigation lights, safety equipment or a properly-trained crew.

In mid-October last year, the safety certificate for the Nicky Noo expired.

However, the vessel was seen at sea by a fisheries officer four days later.

Barton, of Plymouth, admitted three charges of the unsafe operation of a fishing vessel and one of breaching a prohibition notice requiring him to have completed the required safety training.

He was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Friday, February 17.

A spokesperson from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Judge Ian Lawrie, sentencing the defendant at Plymouth Crown Court, called Barton "complacent and arrogant" and had shown a "cavalier attitude" to the safety of his crew.

Tony Heslop, area operations manager for the south west with the agency, said: "The operation of a vessel at night without navigation lights is not only illegal but is a foolhardy and dangerous act.

"It not only placed his own vessel in danger but those operating around him too."