Environment Agency officer identify 23 offenders in Essex and Norfolk during crackdown on illegal fishing

PUBLISHED: 14:42 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:42 12 September 2017

Environmental Agency  fisheries enforcement officer Nick Beardmore. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Environmental Agency fisheries enforcement officer Nick Beardmore. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Archant

Environment Agency officers have identified 23 offenders during a three-day crackdown on illegal fishing in Essex and Norfolk.

Environment Agency environmental crime officer Gary Yardley. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYEnvironment Agency environmental crime officer Gary Yardley. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The rod licensing blitz involved agency officers worked with Essex and Norfolk police forces, the Broads Authority and volunteer bailiffs from the Angling Trust as they visited various sites on the back of intelligence received.

Over September 6, 9 and 10, eight Essex fisheries were checked, and a stretch of the River Bure in Norfolk patrolled during Operation Springfield II.

Officers checked 224 rod licences - a 10% evasion rate - and stressed how the income is reinvested in fisheries.

Environment Agency enforcement team leader Lesley Robertson said: “Our officers patrol the watercourses all year round, including holidays and weekends. Those who avoid buying a rod licence and found fishing illegally will be caught and may face prosecution and a hefty fine.

“Anglers should ensure they are properly licensed before going out to enjoy this worthwhile hobby.”

Essex Police rural and heritage crime officer PC Andrew Long said: “Like other forces across the UK, Essex Police have joined with the Environment Agency and Angling Trust to work together and tackle criminality surrounding theft of fish and unlawful fishing.

“This has an impact on one of the country’s most popular pastimes with more than 1.5 million people buying rod licences every year.

“Taking part in unlawful fishing can have a detrimental effect on the environment so it’s important for us to work in partnership with the Environment Agency and ensure everyone has the correct licence to do this.”

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