‘STOP moaning, start phoning’ is the message for anglers concerned about rod licence evasion and illegal fishing.

Rod licence evasion and various forms of illegal fishing have incensed many anglers, but action is being taken around the country.

Following the creation in June of a formal system to record info, nearly 130 reports of suspected fisheries’ crime have been submitted to the Environment Agency by the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service.

This is headed by the Trust’s first national intelligence manager Gary Thomas who was appointed earlier this year.

FESS is funded by the EA from fishing licence income and includes the Voluntary Bailiff Service, formed to support the Agency and Police in the hard job of enforcing fishing licence compliance and protecting fish and fisheries.

With nearly 500 trained Volunteer Bailiffs across England reporting incidents to a high evidential standard, it was necessary to establish a legitimate and formal system to record and share incoming information with partners.

Former West Mercia Police detective inspector Gary has set up those systems and arranged an Information Sharing Agreement with the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit which went live on June 1.

To date the FESS has submitted 129 information reports since the start of June. All but eight have been suitable for submission to the EA Intelligence Unit as either an information report or an intelligence log.

Of these reports, 52 per cent have come from the VBS, the other 48 per cent from the public.

Intelligence manager Gary said: “I only started work in January so I am both surprised and delighted at the number of reports we have managed to put together so far, and we are on target for 300 for the first year.

“They have ranged from information on possible licence dodging, to an incident of poachers using explosives in East Anglia, through to a possible stealing carp to order operation.

“We don’t always get a lot of feedback on outcomes from some police forces but have developed close working relationship with individual police wildlife officers in local areas.

“I am very hopeful that the number of reports will increase to enable more effective enforcement action to be taken, and better resources obtained,” he added.

Dilip Sarkar, the FESS national enforcement manager, said: “A big ‘well done’ to all our volunteers and staff from me personally.

“I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of intelligence reports in highlighting issues and taking action.

“In the whole of Lincolnshire last year there were less than 20 fisheries related reports to the police whereas the anti-hare coursing initiative produced 2,000.

“Only if we can increase the level of reporting can we bring attract more resources to tackle the problems.

“With the systems we now have in place there has never been a better time for anglers to pass on the appropriate information,” he concluded.

Anglers should report any incidents to the EA hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or police on 911.

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