Rural officers to work with Angling Trust to tackle fish poaching
Police in Kent are supporting a national campaign to target those who poach fresh water fish illegally.
On Thursday, 7 February 2019, Assistant Chief Constable Peter Ayling and officers from the Rural Task Force met with The Angling Trust to sign up to Operation Traverse, a campaign to tackle poaching and the anti-social behaviour that can accompany the crime.
At the meeting the officers pledged to continue to work closely with key partners, such as the Environment Agency to promote a joined up approach to effectively target those fishing illegally.
Inspector Dave Smith of the Rural Task Force explained: ‘Poaching fresh water fish is a worrying crime for rural communities. Businesses can be devastated by the effects within a relatively short-space of time. For example, a 40lb carp could be worth in excess of £10,000 and it would have a massive impact on a fishery if stolen.
‘Fishing clubs are concerned about the destruction of fish stocks, the knock on effect to their business and the wider range of criminality that offenders are engaged in.
‘Poaching on a large scale is often associated with organised crime, this isn’t about taking a few fish, it’s about potentially devastating businesses and damaging rural communities. Often when challenged offenders are aggressive and intimidating and it is not acceptable that people feel fearful of those committing crime on their property.
‘The Rural Task Force has been working to tackle the issue for some time and this campaign presents the opportunity to work closely with a number of partner agencies as well as other forces.’
Dave Wilkins, the Angling Trust's Regional Enforcement Manager in the South East, said: ‘Tackling fish theft and illegal fishing is vital if we are to protect fisheries. The Angling Trust has trained nearly 100 volunteer bailiffs in the South East who act as ‘eyes and ears’ on riverbanks and lakesides to report incidents and suspicious activity to a high evidential standard. Across the country we’ve seen that partnership working can have a big impact on reducing fisheries crime so having Kent Police join Operation Traverse is terrific news for all responsible, law-abiding anglers.’