It was a daring fund-raiser aimed at testing the stamina of both man and machine, but the Metros to Murmansk challenge proved more eventful than either Maurice Inkster or Andrew Lyall had first bargained for.
The two men, who both work at Shetland Island Council’s capital services programme, were arrested and accused of spying as they journeyed back to the Russian border in their clapped-out £100 Honda Accord.
They were taking part in the event to raise cash for CLAN and local charity Cancer Shetland – which aims to improve palliative care for patients in the isles – by driving to Murmansk in a cheap car ill-suited to the task.
However, they were apprehended on the return leg of the journey after Maurice unwittingly wandered into a restricted area to take photographs with his camera phone of people fishing. The area was not fenced off, but before he knew it two soldiers in a military vehicle were by his side.
Maurice and Andrew were both taken away to be interviewed for three hours, through an interpreter. They were only released after signing a document admitting the offence, which means Maurice now has a criminal record in Russia. They left quickly and headed for the Norwegian border.
The men are currently in Finland, driving down through and across to Bergen from which they will fly home on Wednesday. Their P-reg Honda is still going strong, however, helping them raise almost £3,000.