TWO anglers caught leaving a stillwater in Newport, South Wales with a live 20lb carp have been arrested and had their tackle confiscated.

The specimen had been taken with rod and line and the Environament Agency believes it was destined for a water close to Cardiff.

Both men were arrested, all tackle and equipment seized and a prosecution is pending. An Agency spokesman said: “People who commit offences such as these, which pose a serious threat both to the welfare of important fish populations and a blatant disregard for other people’s property, can expect the Agency to rigorously enforce our full legal powers.”

In a seperate incident in the south Wales region, EA officers have removed a number of 20lb carp from Lamby Lake in Cardiff which they say were illegally stocked, following information received from concerned members of the public.

In a joint operation with Cardiff County Council and Cardiff Harbour Authority, the specimen carp were then released into Cardiff Bay Barrage Lake where it is hoped they will flourish.

“The illegal movement of fish, in particular carp, has been responsible for a large number of substantial fish mortalities in England and Wales in recent seasons,” said an EA spokesman.

“This is because the transferred fish can carry disease strains which are not harmful to them but which can be fatal to fish not previously exposed to them. The removal of such fish from enclosed waters without the owner’s consent is a criminal offence, constituting a theft. With fish of this size, which can realise several hundred pounds each, the financial loss can be significant.”

After the netting the carp were placed in quarantine while samples from them were sent to the Agency’s National Fisheries Laboratory to undergo a health check to screen for disease. They received a clean bill of health.

An Agency spokesperson added: “We are pleased that Cardiff County Council and Cardiff Harbour Authority have supported our course of action here. We believe that these fish will flourish within the Bay and add to the considerable angling potential at this promising venue.”

A spokesperson for Cardiff Harbour Authority commented: “We are keen to assist the Agency in clamping down on illegal operations and also to provide a home for healthy fish in a safe and public environment. The Bay has become a breeding ground for fish and will provide a suitable habitat for the carp.”