THE jury trying five people in connection with the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster were today visiting the scene where the tragedy unfolded.
The jurors, sitting at Preston Crown Court, were being given a narrated hovercraft trip around the Hest Bank area of the bay, to see first hand where at least 21 Chinese cockle pickers drowned on the night of February 5 last year.
It is thought to be the first time a jury has boarded a hovercraft for a site visit.
The cocklers, all illegal immigrants aged between 18 and 45, perished in rising tides on Warton Sands in cold, wet and windy conditions. Two bodies have never been found.
Lin Liang Ren, 29, from Liverpool, denies 21 counts of manslaughter, perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to facilitate illegal immigration. His girlfriend, Zhao Xiao Qing, 20, of Liverpool, denies perverting the course of justice and facilitation. Lin Mu Yong, 31, also from Liverpool, denies facilitation.
Father and son David Anthony Eden, 62, from Irby, Merseyside, and David Anthony Eden, 34, from Prenton, Merseyside, deny facilitation.