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THE Carp Society is in turmoil following a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office in one of the biggest debacles ever to hit angling in the UK.

Once the biggest specialist fishing group in the UK with 6,000 members, there are now as little as ten people left.

The Society directors are seriously considering liquidating the company and selling Horseshoe Lake (pictured) plus leases on two other fisheries and rights to their yearly Carp Society Show at Sandown Racecourse for around £2 million combined.

Carp anglers are up in arms after the group – initially formed in 1981– looks on its knees. There is much anger as none of the current directors were involved or paid a penny when they purchased Horseshoe in 1992.

Original members are furious. One has informed the Serious Fraud Office as the Society constitution states any assets can only be sold as a last resort if there are no debts – and there isn’t as they have well over £50,000 in the bank. And in the event of folding, waters should be given to like-minded bodies.

In 1992, 1,000 members paid £250 each for a ten-year permit at Gloucestershire wonder water Horseshoe which allowed the then-committee to purchase of the fishery as a flagship water for members.

When the ten-year lease finished in 2002, it opened up for day ticket fishing for all Society members but over the past few years the directors changed the rule.

Now anglers just have to pay a £10 joining fee to Horseshoe Lake and then purchase day tickets. Meanwhile Carp Society membership has ballooned up to £95 a year just to become a member, resulting in membership plummeting to just a handful.

Horseshoe Lake is a thriving fishery always full of anglers who pay £1 an hour to fish the 62-acre water with over 70 swims. It boasts an amazing head of well conditioned 20-40 lb-plus carp, and hefty tench.

As the story broke last week, The Carp Society website wouldn’t work and remained broken until the Mail went to Press.

Angler’s Mail emailed the Society head office on the banks of Horseshoe for more information of the liquidation and selling off of all assets but didn’t get a reply.

We also emailed and messaged commercial manager and director David Mannall who now lives in Cyprus, plus secretary, chairman and fellow director Malcolm Coller. Again there was no response for over 48 hours before we had to go to Press.

This is just a short version of the full story that appeared in the printed magazine. Get the magazine every week for top tips, big news, best products, and venues that are in form.

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  • George Bradley

    There’s an easy solution to this. Societies run on majority membership votes. Get a couple of hundred like minded friends to join. All write requesting an extraordinary general meeting. All vote to sack the directors. All vote in new directors (that normally involves a 2nd meeting) Then you have taken over and can change the rules as you see fit.