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Carpy News
131 offences reported as volunteer bailiffs carry out
over 3,650 patrols during coarse fishing close season
The Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff
Service took part in one of the biggest
crackdowns on illegal fishing during
the coarse fish close season, with volunteers carrying out over 3,650
patrols amounting to a total of 8,798
hours. Operation Clampdown 7, the
seventh consecutive multi-agency
close season initiative, ended on 15
June and saw 267 of the Trust’s 503
volunteer bailiffs actively involved in
OCD7 – 72 more than in 2018.
Across the country, 131 offences
were reported to the Environment
Agency compared with 91 last year.
Interestingly, only 34 criminal matters
were reported to the police as
opposed to 54 during OCD6, suggesting that offenders are getting the
message that fishing without permission and the theft of fish are criminal
matters that will be investigated by
the police.
Crucially, this activity generated 77
intelligence reports, an incredible 76
of which were converted to actual
intelligence logs shared with the
Environment Agency and police.
National Enforcement Manager
Dilip Sarkar MBE explained: “During
the close season, offenders stand out
like a sore thumb, providing a firm
focus for the Voluntary Bailiff Service
to work closely with empowered partners, especially the Environment
Agency and police forces throughout
England. This year, for example, 40
joint patrols took place with the
police and 48 with the Agency. The
total number of hours committed by
our volunteer bailiffs
amounts to a huge effort,
and it was pleasing to see
so many social media posts
concerning joint patrols
with the Agency throughout OCD7. This effort continues, under the auspices
of Operations Traverse and
Leviathan, so the message
is simple: partners are
working together, awareness of fisheries crime has been massively raised, and offenders will get
caught. We now look forward to hearing the results of prosecutions arising
from the essential work by the VBS to
support the Agency and police in protecting our precious fisheries.”
Commenting on the success of the
intelligence logs, Intelligence Manager Gary Thomas said: “A conversion
rate of 98% is unprecedented in my
experience – I would usually expect around 70%,
even for the police. Last
year, 97 reports were generated leading to 78 logs,
a log being potentially
actionable information
provided in a certain evidential format. The
incredibly high figure this
year is clear evidence that
the training our volunteers receive is spot-on, and that the
quality and commitment of our volunteer bailiffs is exemplary.”
Graeme Storey, Fisheries Manager
with the Environment Agency, said:
“Voluntary Bailiffs are eyes and ears
on waterways across England. This
network of anglers, able to provide
good information, is valuable in
directing our enforcement patrols to
catch those who damage the sport
through illegal activity, including
coarse fishing on rivers during the
close season. Our rural policing partners also supported this partnershipbased initiative, engaging on 49
patrols with our staff and volunteers.”
The Voluntary Bailiff Service is part
of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries
Enforcement Support Service which
is funded by fishing licence money
through the National Angling Strategic Services contract with the Environment Agency. n


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