Anglers are being urged to take extra care following a spate of incidents in which individuals were followed home from matches before having their tackle stolen.
One fisherman who was been hit particularly hard is Paul Barnes, from Peterborough, after £14,000 of top end tackle was stolen from his garage overnight.
Paul, who believes he was followed home three times, was told by police that he was one of several victims in the area, with officers believing that the culprits had eyed up his gear while he fished at a local fishery.
“The first time a car seemed to be following me home from the venue but stopped in a layby at the top of my road. Then I clocked the same car following me home from a match on Norfolk’s River Yare. I was then followed a third time by another car from that same commercial,” said Paul.
A few days later, Paul awoke to find his garage had been broken into ¬ despite it being made from 9ins thick brick and having three padlocks on the door. Among the list of stolen items was a Maver Elite 77 pole and a Daiwa Tournament Airity pole, several Daiwa Tournament feeder and waggler rods, Normark Microlight and Titan 2000 float rods and specimen carp and pike gear.
“I work hard and believe in investing in the best fishing tackle you can afford, but what upset me most was that they took my daughter’s gear, too.
She’s only seven years old and this has nearly put her off going fishing for life.
“I think those responsible must be anglers or know the industry well,” he added.
Two more victims of tackle theft were budding anglers from Maccelsfield.
Left devastated after having all their tackle stolen, brother and sister, Leon (14) and Leah Heath (6) had been fishing a local junior match when they were targeted. Their mother, Lisa Heath, told AT that she was sure that they were also followed home from the match at a local fishery.
“There’s no other way they would have known about the tackle, which was worth over £2,000. They kicked in the shed door and stole all the fishing kit, but left other stuff so they knew what they were after. The worst thing is that Leah has nothing left to fish the final with now.”