Anger over stolen fish

AN ANGLING club has claimed thieves have been poaching fish from its privately-stocked fishing pond.Leiston Youth Club Angling Section believes the thieves have been using large nets to trawl the waters for fish and are then eating their catches.

AN ANGLING club has claimed thieves have been poaching fish from its privately-stocked fishing pond.

Leiston Youth Club Angling Section believes the thieves have been using large nets to trawl the waters for fish and are then eating their catches.

Angling club representative and volunteer water bailiff Malcolm Briggs said a group of men, who he believes were eastern European, were spotted during the early hours of last Sunday morning laying out nets on the banks around the fish pond in Haylings Park and that they were seen carrying a large bucket of freshwater fish.

Mr Briggs said: “The men were spotted on Sunday by someone out walking their dog, but I did not hear about the incident until Tuesday when I reported it to the police and to the Environment Agency, which has responsibility for these sorts of crimes.

“It is very annoying that this has happened as the pond, as well as being used by adult anglers, is predominantly used by the youth club to get the youngsters interested in angling and the money raised from the small membership fee we charge goes towards buying trophies for the youths.

“As such we cannot afford a hit like this, we are a small club and re-stocking is expensive - bigger fish can cost, depending on species, between £5 and £10 per pound in weight.

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“Although we do not know as yet how many fish we have lost we will probably have to ask for outside funding to help us re-stock the pond.”

He added that although it is part of the eastern European culture to eat fish catches it is not acceptable at angling clubs.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said they were taking the incident seriously and would be stepping up patrols in the area.

The problem is a national one with many such incidents being reported with anglers claiming that poaching by immigrants from Poland and eastern Europe is creating problems for fish stocks in some areas.

The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFC) said the poaching of larger fish from lakes has hit some fisheries hard.