Ex-police join poacher fight

A team of some of the UK’s top former policemen are to join the fight against illegal angling and poaching.
In a project directly funded by rod licence revenue, the six, who have over 150 years of crime-fighting experience between them, have been appointed by the Angling Trust as part of its new nationwide Fisheries Enforcement Support Service.
Led by Trust Fisheries Enforcement Manager Dilip Sarkar, and in partnership with the Environment Agency, each of the six Regional Enforcement Officers (REMs) will work directly with with police, anglers and clubs nationwide to help them understand the law and raise awareness of illegal angling.
The men will also be supporting the ‘Building Bridges’ project, aimed at encouraging migrant anglers to fish legally, and help to roll out the Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS) across the country, a scheme currently running only in the South East.
“This is a massive step forward in the fight to protect fish and fisheries, and unprecedented from a non-government organisation,” said Dilip, himself a retired West Mercia police officer. “The experience of the new recruits across a wide range of disciplines will give angling a distinct advantage and spells bad news for offenders. “
The new REMs are no strangers to fishing, and most of them are keen anglers.
Paul Thomas, who will be the officer for the Eastern England region, is excited about putting something back into the sport: “I am honoured and truly proud to be part of the Angling Trust delivering a robust and effective Fisheries Enforcement Campaign with positive outcomes for all anglers,”
he said.
“The Building Bridges project and Voluntary Bailiff Service are the way forward for angling today, and as a truly passionate angler I am very excited by the opportunity to put something back into the hobby that has held me spellbound for more than 40 years.”