Throughout the coarse close season, the Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS), Environment Agency (EA) and various police forces throughout South East England will again be working in partnership to target illegal fishing on rivers in SE England during Operation CLAMP DOWN 3.
People who fish illegally are poachers. The police understand that poachers are often involved in wider criminality, including theft and drugs and that several million anglers represent a valuable source of rural intelligence. This is why it is increasingly important for all stakeholders to work together, sharing intelligence and mounting joint operations accordingly.
The VBS remains a pilot project in SE England, but all anglers throughout England can contribute to the process, regardless of location, by reporting offences in progress or any information either to the EA on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Angling Trust's National Enforcement Manager, retired police officer Dilip Sarkar MBE, said: 'The VBS exists to principally support the EA in the fight to protect fish and fisheries, and we are delighted to have the police's support in this endeavour. Likewise, if we can help the police in the fight against Rural and Wildlife Crime - we will.'
Adrian Brightley, VBS Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said: 'It is great to see everyone working together like this - which sends out a powerful message to offenders. We are all very keen for this to continue.'