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Angling Trust volunteers land dream jobs with the Environment Agency and police

06.06.19

Barry Wildish EA with bream released from tangled weed while spawning. While out removing invasive species. x550px
Barry Wildish with a bream he rescued from tangled weed

Lee Pacheco x450px

Lee Pacheco on patrol for the Environment Agency

Martynas Pranaitis  x450px

Fisheries Enforcement Officer Martynas Pranaitis checking rod licences

James Sarkar x450px

James Sarkar has just completed his initial PCSO training with West Mercia Police

Mike Shuttleworth CROP x450px

Mike Shuttleworth has been involved in tackling rural crime for a number of years

One of the main reasons people become volunteers is to make a difference – for a group of Angling Trust volunteers it has also made a difference to their lives, too.

The experience gained by five members of our Voluntary Bailiff Service has helped them to land dream jobs with the Environment Agency and the Police.

Former Royal Marine Lee Pacheco joined the Voluntary Bailiff Service in the South East when it launched its pilot project seven years ago. He became one of the first warranted Phase 2 volunteer bailiffs in 2016 and soon afterwards realised his dream when the Environment Agency, Thames Area, appointed him as full-time Fisheries Enforcement Officer.

Lee said: “I wanted to be proactive in looking after the fisheries in my area and the Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service provided training and joint patrols with Environment Agency officers and the police. I went on to be selected for the Phase 2 scheme and went through more training to gain a warrant to be able to check rod licences on the bank. Now I have my dream job with the Environment Agency.”

Martynas Pranaitis says he is “enjoying every minute” of his role as Fisheries Enforcement Officer with the Environment Agency. Like Lee, Martynas became a Phase 1 volunteer bailiff in the South East before joining the Angling Trust’s Building Bridges team as a part-time Project Officer. In 2016 he was selected as a Phase 2 warranted volunteer bailiff before his appointment with the Environment Agency.

Martynas, who is Lithuanian and has a Masters’ Degree in Ecology & Environmental Sciences, added: “In my role I continue to learn and assist with the vital work carried out by the Environment Agency. The only way forward is for European communities to embrace the law and culture of their adopted countries, as I have. As well as enjoying my role I'm an addicted angler, fishing for any species.”

Barry Wildish says he is “incredibly proud” at being involved in the Voluntary Bailiff Service and gained valuable experience and training. He is now a team member of the Environment Agency’s River Mole Operations Team.

Barry said: “I’m out on the river most days. We look after the Environment Agency’s assets on the Mole and respond to any flooding and blockages. It’s a varied role, I can be chain sawing and winching out trees one day and clearing grills, cutting hedges and grass cutting the next day. We work at some beautiful sites full of rare wildlife which is the best part of my job, as I’m a bit of a wildlife enthusiast.

“The Angling Trust has been a huge support on my local river and for my local fishing club where I am head bailiff.”

Lifelong angler James Sarkar has a degree in fisheries management from Sparsholt College and been Volunteer Bailiff in the Midlands for many years. Having recently successfully completed his initial Police Community Support Officer training with West Mercia Police, James said: “There is no doubt that my knowledge of intelligence-led policing gained through the Voluntary Bailiff Service was of great help to me during the selection process and training. I would recommend joining the VBS to anyone interested in making a difference or pursuing a career in law enforcement.”

Mike Shuttleworth was a Police Community Support Officer with Gloucestershire Constabulary when he became heavily involved with Operation Leviathan, the multi-agency initiative tackling illegal fishing and poaching. As a result, Mike became a Volunteer Bailiff for the Angling Trust and helped co-ordinate the force’s contribution to this aspect of rural crime. Recently, Mike has been appointed Police Constable.

Mike, a lifelong angler, said: “My experience with the police assisting the Environment Agency and VBS has been a massively positive one, I have helped co-ordinate and partake in several operations checking licences and illegal fishing all over Gloucestershire. It has really helped push fishing and crime on the waterways to the forefront of the rural crime team. I am hoping that I can carry on helping in my new role which with warranted powers will enable me to check licences. The Angling Trust has really helped push enforcement forward and bring everybody together especially with VBS.”

Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager Dilip Sarkar MBE said:

“We are very proud of all our volunteers. That a number have now gone on to full-time roles with the Environment Agency and police is clear evidence of both the quality of our people and wider benefits of volunteering generally and the VBS specifically. Congratulations to all involved.”

Kevin Austin, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

“The Voluntary Bailiff Service provides an excellent way for anglers to gain enforcement experience and give something back to their sport. I am delighted that for Lee, Martynas and Barry it has helped to secure a job at the Environment Agency. There is nothing better than doing a job you love and volunteering can be the first step for someone into a fulfilling and rewarding career in fisheries.”

The Voluntary Bailiff Service is part of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service which operates in partnership with the Environment Agency and is funded by income from fishing licence sales.

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