A Crimestoppers-style telephone line is being launched for anglers to report information about fish thefts. Environment Agency fisheries officers have teamed up with the Pike Anglers Club and King’s Lynn Angling Association to trial a new initiative in East Anglia.
They hope intelligence they receive will help them target patrols in areas where they will be most effective and start making inroads into the problem.
EA enforcement officer Richard Ingham said: “Incidents requiring an immediate response should be reported using the incident hotline 0800 80 70 60, this additional number is for anyone to provide information direct to fisheries enforcement officers.
“The information received will be used as intelligence to allow for targeted operations and patrols to be conducted.”
Anglers are being urged to carry a pen and paper with them to note down details of incidents including times and descriptions of anglers behaving suspiciously and their vehicles, including registration numbers.
Both clubs will be promoting the number to their members and urging them to use it. Many PAC members enjoy fishing in the Fens, while visiting predator anglers bring vital revenue to clubs and businesses in the area.
PAC chairman Colin Goodge said: “This is a way all anglers can be the eyes and ears of the Environment Agency and ensure that the information goes directly to the people who can make use of it.
“We urge anyone to report details of fish being removed to help the EA build up a better picture of where it’s going on and who’s doing it.”
The move comes after both PAC members and bailiffs from the 800-strong King’s Lynn Angling Association (KLAA) witnessed a number of incidents of fish being killed and taken from waters including the Great Ouse and Relief Channel this season.
KLAA secretary Ashley Brown said: “We need anglers to be out eyes on the bank. Please report anything, no matter how trivial you may think it is, when it happens not a day or week later so we can target the problem areas.
“The long-term future of KLAA fisheries needs protecting , so we can all enjoy the rivers and drains for years to come.”
The number to call with any information is 01480 483023. While the line covers East Anglia for now, a similar initiative may be rolled out nationwide if it proves successful.
Please include as much information as you can in your message and a contact number so an officer can call you back.