Dubai: A businessman has been accused of ridiculing and disrespecting two coastguard officials, who caught him fishing in a restricted area.

The 48-year-old British defendant was said to have sailed his yacht near Palm Jebel Ali, where he was caught fishing in a restricted zone and hiding the yacht’s plate number behind shock absorbers.

Prosecution records said Dubai Police dispatched a coastguard patrol after beach-goers complained that the defendant was taking snapshots of them with his mobile phone on February 28.

The defendant argued with the two Emirati coastguard officials, according to records, and disrespected them by putting his legs in their faces when they asked him to follow them to the shore for questioning.

“I am not guilty. I did not know that fishing in that zone was restricted. Yes, sir I hid the plate numbers behind the shock-absorber balloons, but I did not intend to do so… it was by mistake. I am very sorry for what happened,” said the suspect when he defended himself before the Dubai Misdemeanour Court.

One of the coastguard officials, M.S., testified that when they asked the defendant to sail behind them to the shore, the latter cruised slowly. “He removed the balloons when we asked him to do so. He sailed very slowly and when we asked him to increase his speed he claimed that the yacht’s engine was very hot. He was fishing in a restricted zone. It took us around three and a half hours to reach the shore although we should have reached there within 30 minutes. He ridiculed us and intended to sail slowly to stall us. He also drank tea and ate while sailing behind us,” M.S. told prosecutors.

Records said when the coastguard officials asked the Briton to follow them he did not abide and took snapshots of the coastguard’s boat with his mobile phone.

Meanwhile the other coastguard official, S.H., said that the defendant ridiculed them by putting his legs in their faces four times.

The Briton testified that he was fishing near Palm Jebel Ali when the incident happened.

“While I was fishing, a coastguard patrol sailed in front of me and the officials asked me to stop fishing. I handed them my licence and sailing permit and they asked me to sail behind them to the seashore. They did not tell me why when I asked them. I sailed slowly because I was communicating with the Dubai Marina Yacht Club and the lawyer… I also informed the officials that I did not have enough fuel and my engine was hot and couldn’t sail quickly towards the Coastguard Department in Rashid Port,” said the suspect.

The suspect will submit his defence to court when it reconvenes on July 17.