A picture of a 'gold' bar and a boast that 10 more were found off Falmouth by a trawlerman has been outed as little more than a fishy tale.

The national press have gone gaga over the story that Billy Anderson, 36, was greeted by police at the quayside after putting a picture of himself holding the 'gold' bar on Facebook, which ended up being little more than brass.

The fisherman had to explain to police that rather than gold bars from the 1983 Brink's-Mat raid, the bar was a piece of scrap dragged up while fishing for scallops.

The Telegraph said: "Mr Anderson, who works for TN Trawlers in Arran, and his crew of six cut up the bracket with an angle grinder so he could trick his fiancée into thinking that they were suddenly rich, according to The Sun.

"The fishermen’s boasts quickly spread throughout other boats, and Mr Anderson was met with requests to give the precise location of his find, 16 miles off Falmouth in Cornwall.

It added that Mr Anderson, from Dumfries, Scotland, "had to persuade his fiancée, Claire Muir, 29, not to go on a lavish shopping spree and eventually told his boat’s owners the truth after they prepared to send two more vessels to the site.

The report claims that police electronically tracked the boat’s movements after hearing the claim and that detectives arrived at Newlyn when it came back to port, and that he "knew the joke had gone too far".