PIRATES seemed to have good taste when choosing their hideouts.

Blackbeard’s Pirate Republic was based on the sunny shores of Nassau in the Bahamas, while the mythical Libertalia purportedly set up shop on the coast of Madagascar.

But before the piracy’s golden age plagued the colonial seas from the 1650s, pirates were a problem a lot closer to home for the British Empire.

Captain Peter Love, born in Lewes some time in the 16th century, was one of those troublemakers, terrorising merchants on the Irish and Scottish coast.

No records exist as to when he was born, nor how he ended up as pirate.

But what we do know is by 1610 Captain Love was notorious.

“Not a peaceful merchantman was she [sic], but one of the most renowned pirates of the day, manned by as desperate a set of cut-throats as ever ordered an unfortunate captive to walk the plank,” historian William Cook Mackenzie wrote in his History of the Outer Hebrides.

Having escaped capture on the Irish coast, Captain Love sailed his ship Priam to the Scottish Isle of Lewis to seek refuge.

Perhaps he was seeking a reminder of home. But a far more likely reason is some of the isle was under control of the Macleod Clan, historic rulers of Lewis who were fighting against monarchist forces backed by King James I.

Priam was laden with plunder taken from English and Dutch ships.

So when Captain Love dropped anchor in a nearby loch, Neil MacLeod and his band of rebels fortified on the tiny islet of Bearasaigh decided to strike a deal with the pirate.

“A bond of mutual offence and defence seems to have been entered into by the two outlaws,” historian Mr Mackenzie wrote.

“For a time, all went well with the pirates.

“They resumed their occupation off the Lewis coast and captured the ship of a lowland Scot whom they detained as their prisoner.

“They also seized a Flemish buss, transferring five of the crew to the Priam to work as slaves.”

The two outlaws appeared to get on famously.

After a few victories, Captain Love even agreed to marry Mr Macleod’s cousin.

But secretly the Scottish rebel was hatching a plan.

Mr Macleod, perhaps realising he could not fight off the monarchists for ever, thought he could be pardoned if he delivered Captain Love to the king.

What’s more, he and his men could even take the pirate’s plunder provided the Government did not notice.

So the outlaws threw a banquet for Captain Love, supposedly in preparation his wedding into the Macleod Clan. They roped in Torquil Blair Macleod, father of the bride to be.

“While the ardent lover was, mayhap, basking in the smiles of his future bride, the bride’s father was preparing to seize the ship of his intended son-in-law,” Mr Mackenzie wrote.

“The plot succeeded, but not without bloodshed. Captain Love and his companions found themselves trapped by their allies, and the Priam, after a short but desperate scuffle, became the prize of Torquil Blair and his followers.”

After setting free the pirate’s Flemish slaves, the outlaws presumably began helping themselves to the Priam’s loot.

Government records state no money was found on the ship when it was delivered. Mr Macleod’s men had likely taken it to the cleaners.

Captain Love and nine other pirates were delivered to a representative of the king on December 8 and taken to Edinburgh for trial.

But Mr Macleod oddly claimed he had not taken part in the capture of the pirates. It is likely he was trying to cover his back in case the captain blew the whistle on the outlaws’ theft.

The pirates were found guilty, branded “wicked imps of the Devil”, and sentenced to hanging on the sands of Edinburgh’s port Leith.

But backstabbing Mr Macleod would get a taste of his own medicine three years later. Driven south by the monarchists to the Isle of Harris, Mr Macleod begged clan chief Rory Macleod to take him to London and ask the king for a pardon.

The chief obliged, but once they reached Glasgow he gave up the outlaw to the authorities. He was hanged for treason in April 1613.