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Net Closes in on Poachers and Fish Thieves


Don't Steal, Cook, Kill Fish for News

The Angling Trust has secured an important breakthrough in the war against poachers and fish thieves.

Now all 132,000 police officers in England and Wales will have web access to fisheries enforcement guidance and the law on POLKA - the national Police On-Line Knowledge Area.

Officers in the 43 forces in England and Wales routinely refer to POLKA when they encounter incidents and offences beyond routine beat policing.

POLKA will now include the Angling Trust produced Elementary Guide to Angling Law and Fishery Enforcement which has been endorsed by the police National Wildlife Crime Unit.

It explains to police how fishery enforcement works and details how both poaching, which carries a maximum fine of £5,000, and fish theft from enclosed waters are matters for the police.

While anglers have become increasingly angry about both problems, police have lacked guidance on the action they can and should take.

This Angling Trust guide to the law will also be used by wildlife crime officers to brief colleagues in individual forces.

The Trust's Fishery Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar, himself a former police officer, said: "This is a really important step forward in educating the police. It will be of special interest to anglers in the South East where the Trust and the Environment Agency are piloting the Voluntary Bailiff Scheme to put more trained eyes and ears on the banks.

The Trust urges water keepers and individual anglers to report incidents to local police but also phone the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 to keep them in the picture."

The Angling Trust together with the Environment Agency has also produced an 'impact statement' on poaching and fish theft - explaining why the offences are serious. It will be used as guidance by the police National Wildlife Crime Unit and by the courts in determining sentences.

Notes to Editors:

Poaching is defined under the Theft Act as stealing fishing rights and carries a maximum fine in on conviction in a magistrate's court of £5,000.

Police are also empowered to check rod Environment Agency rod licences.

Fishing in the close seasons carries a maximum fine of £50,000. Tackle may be confiscated.

The Angling Trust formed in 2009 and is the representative body for freshwater and sea anglers, their clubs and associations.

The AT campaigns to improve and protect fish stocks, provides a strong and unified voice for angling, promotes the benefits of angling for all and manages national and international fishing competitions.

Fish Legal acts as the Trust's legal arm in England and takes action through the courts against polluters and others who damages its members' fishing.


Dilip Sarker, Fishery Enforcement Manager, Angling Trust.

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
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