North Sea - (Rioters): Iranian gunboat forces are the prime suspects tonight in the disappearance of six people who vanished after an oil rig support vessel capsized in the North Sea.
The Bourbon Dolphin foundered 75 miles west off the Shetland coast which an Admiralty spokesman said is still clearly outside Iranian territory, albeit just.
RAF helicopter patrols say Iranians forces may have been lurking near the oil rig waiting to pounce following the public PR fiasco last week when fifteen Royal Navy sailors held capitve in Iran ratted on their fundamentalist captors in the UK press.
An RAF Nimrod which was flying over the Irish Sea in a training exercise is said to have given chase to the Iranian gunboat which eventually docked off Shetland before escorting the captives to a nearby airfield where a Tehran-regsitered cargo plane was waiting for them.
It took off and soon outpaced the chopper, flying rapidly in the direction of the North Pole and Siberia before being caught on radar as it turned southwards for home in Iran.
An Admiralty spokesman has said:
"Clearly this is emerging as a major incident.
"If we ever get them back there'll be hell to pay for in the tabloid press. Again."
Faye Turney is 25.