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Spalding's illegal anglers to be caught in the net?




Spalding's illegal anglers risk being caught in the net in a nationwide trawl that will see hundreds of volunteer bailiffs on patrol.

Operation Clampdown 7 launches on Friday, March 15 - the start of the close season, when fishing isn't allowed - and convicted offenders risk fines up to £50,000.

Three weeks ago Sutton St James angler Andi Shortland spoke out about illegal angling in Spalding.

This image was posted on Facebook by angler Andi Shortland who wants more done to tackle illegal fishing. The picture shows an Environment Agency official on patrol in Spalding on February 7.
This image was posted on Facebook by angler Andi Shortland who wants more done to tackle illegal fishing. The picture shows an Environment Agency official on patrol in Spalding on February 7.

Andi, who runs a Facebook page called 'The Diary of a Fen Angler', revealed local anglers had been policing the water and "calling in incidents of illegal anglers removing buckets full of fish for months".

He spoke about traps and illegal nets in the town's rivers.

On Monday The Angling Trust announced that more than 400 trained volunteer bailiffs will patrol the English regions in the three-month close season up to June 15.

Operation Clampdown 7 is a joint initiative between the trust, the Environment Agency (EA) and police.

Dilip Sarkar, the trust's national enforcement manager and retired police officer, says the trawl will include Spalding.

He said the close season was chosen specifically because no one should be fishing and they "stick out like a sore thumb".

Mr Sarkar says the trust's patrols have unearthed other crimes besides illegal fishing and in one incident a volunteer bailiff found 30 bags of cannabis in a Peterborough area river.

In the 2018 close season, volunteer bailiffs patrolling with police and the EA reported 145 incidents.

* Anyone who sees illegal fishing in progress can call the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 807060.

Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can be reported anonymously on 0800 555111.

You can read Andi Shortland's story on illegal fishing by clicking here.

What do you think? Email your view to our editor - jeremy.ransome@iliffepublishing.co.uk



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