FISHING days are numbered for illegal anglers who are ruining the ponds and waterways of Epsom and Ewell and causing associated antisocial behaviour.
The police, the Surrey Fire Service, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Rangers and the Environment Agency are working together to catch the culprits in a zero tolerance initiative.
A spokesman for Epsom Council said: “These anglers regularly flaunt the closed fishing season rules at our Stew Pond site on Epsom Common, and the bye-laws at our other sites which contain ponds or waterways.”
The Stew Ponds on Epsom Common is the only site within the borough of Epsom and Ewell where fishing is allowed, although this is only permissible under stringent regulations.
As part of a site of specific scientific interest, the Stew Pond has a closed fishing season that runs from midnight March 14 to June 16.
During this period no fishing is allowed on the pond under any circumstances.
At other times of year, fishing is permitted but only if the angler holds a rod licence and has paid for a day or season fishing permit through the council’s contractor CALPAC.
Fishing outside these conditions carries a fine through the Environment Agency.
The spokesman added: “Fishing on any other pond or waterway within the borough of Epsom and Ewell is not tolerated at any time of year and is contrary to our bye-laws.
“Sadly these illegal ‘fisherman’ are not responsible people and bring down the reputation of anglers who abide by the rules and regulations.
“It is in all our interests to combat these illegal fishing activities as they are often and all too sadly accompanied by other antisocial practises such as alcohol consumption, illegal and potentially dangerous fires, excess littering and rude and aggressive behaviour.”