Tiny Shetland island declares independence

LONDON (Reuters) - The owner of a tiny island in off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.

In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.

“Forvik owes no allegiance to any United Kingdom government, central or local, and is not bound by any of its statutes,” Hill wrote.

Hill, 65, has lived in the Shetland Islands on the edge of the Atlantic since 2001, when his boat capsized there during an unsuccessful attempted to circumnavigate Britain.

He is Forvik’s only resident, and his home is a tent on the storm-battered island. He says on his website that he plans to create Forvik’s own currency — the “gulde” — print his own stamps and raise his own flag.

“I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik,” he added.

The U.S. State Department is scrambling to send an envoy to Forvik in recognition of Hill’s unilateral declaration and is reportedly lobbying the 192 member states of the UN to follow suit. The U.S. is also keeping its NATO bombers on alert in the event that Britain attempts to send in its military to prevent Hill’s separation.