AN Angler’s Mail reader has been campaigning to get adverts from 'copycat' websites that offer to supply rod licences at a higher cost to be removed from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

As many as 10,000 anglers were caught last year by ‘copycat’ rod licence websites.

They thought they were getting their licence direct from the Environment Agency but ended up paying a surcharge.

Angler’s Mail fan Peter Jones wants as many people to complain if they see any adverts for ‘copycat’ websites, which are often given new domain names.

Peter explained: “These companies pay for Google or Yahoo to ensure they come up first on the search list before the official website.

“People can then be fooled into thinking they are using an official website as they seem like the real thing.

“The search engines’ own rules do not allow adverts from ‘copycat’ companies, and will take down the ad if it is brought to their attention which I did.

“Unfortunately the companies can change their domain name and pay for  a new advert, and action can only be taken by reporting them to the search engines and the EA.

“Even if the ads are blocked the company website will still come up on searches, albeit lower lower down the list, so anglers still might use them,” Peter concluded.

The EA  explained their own stance on rod licence websites, and they are behind Peter’s moves.

A spokesperson said: “We urge the public to be aware of third-party websites offering selling licences.

“We are liaising with Google, Bing and other search engines to help them identify any sites that may be in breach of search engine advertising policies.

“Any anglers who spot a third-party website advertising fishing licences on search engines can report it to the EA’s National Customer Contact Centre 03708 506 506.

“Please make sure you have the right website if you use a search engine to find GOV.UK and remember the only place you need to go is,” he concluded.

Beware of new move by ‘copycat’ rod licence websites

IN A new development, Angler’s Mail reader Nick Stone actually received an email from a copycat company inviting him to renew his licence.

He nearly used it before realising the price being quoted was above the official cost.

Nick explained: “I received an email to renew of my fishing licence.

“I followed the relevant links up to the point of payment, £45 for a two rod trout and course, and £60 for three rods.

“Luckily, I’d not long received the reminder letter and I remembered the two-rod was £30 and three-rod wasn’t more than £45.

“I decided to check the origin of this email and found out it wasn’t even from the EA.

“These people are fishing for folk who will be due new licences, hoping that they aren’t paying attention.

“There are several references to £2,000 fines, and this puts you in a bit of a panic mode. I have alerted the EA to this latest scam,” Nick added.

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