The Police have joined forces with the Voluntary Bailiff Service to take part in the biggest ever closed season clampdown on illegal fishing.
Operation Clampdown 2 - a joint initiative between the VBS, the Environment Agency and every police force in the South East of the UK – is now underway, and has seen teams descend on both running and stillwater fisheries.
The news comes in the same week that the Angling Trust revealed they had now completed the training of the next band of volunteers to be inducted in to the VBS.
“I was fishing the other day and it felt very reassuring when I had my licence checked by an officer from the Hampshire Police. The sport is really making huge leaps forward in terms of enforcement,” said Keith Dipper, VBS area coordinator in the Solent & South Downs area.
Thanks to the induction of 18 new members to the VBS, which also included the signing up of three members of the Polish Anglers Association, the organisation now boasts 68 members who have received sufficient training to allow them to assist in the fight against crime and protect the future of the sport.
The scheme has had an immediate effect with early reports indicating a drop in illegal activity in the areas policed compared to those in the original ‘Operation CLAMPDOWN’ last year.
The Angling Trust’s Fisheries and Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar, said: “It’s now crystal clear that we have the Police’s full backing and this is being reflected in a drop in illegal activity.
“The new inductees into the VBS will not only make us stronger, but give us more presence on the bank and help us work towards ‘ Phase 2’, which will see selected members of the VBS provided further training and empowered to check rod licences and deal with certain byelaw offences.”
To find out more about the VBS visit the Angling Trust website at: www.anglingtrust.net