A COUNCIL-RUN park has allowed night fishing and issued anglers with CB radios in order to prevent vandalism.
Youths in the area were regularly causing vandalism damage to the pavilion and bins in Sandall Park, Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
But Friends Of Sandall Park who run it, came up with this innovative way of solving the vandalism problem.
Don Crabtree, from Friends Of Sandall Park, recently recommended the scheme as a model for others to follow to a Doncaster Council run parks consultation group.
Don said: “I set up an angling club five years ago to police the park. I’ve got no interest in fishing at all, but the rules of the council were there was no night fishing at any council-owned lake.
“There is now. That will cut down crime there, if you put night fishing in like we have.
“Our anglers are briefed, and we’ve given them big torches and radios.
“People who hear radios and see torches don’t know if it’s anglers or the police force.
“It’s stopped people breaking into the cafe and poaching and off-road motorbikes.
“They are our eyes and ears in the park at night and it works,” he concluded.
Carpers happy to help beat vandalism
Angling club chairman and top carper Scott Holland explained: “There had previously been a fishing club at the lake but it wasn’t run very effectively and five years ago I was asked to take it on.
“Night fishing wasn’t allowed but in discussions with the park organisers we came up with the idea of night fishing as providing a presence in the park which would deter teenagers from causing trouble there at night.
“FOSP provided the funding for CB radios and torches from fundraising events they organised and the police agreed to us having a direct number to their response team so they can come out straight away if we contact with a problem.
“The local community police also do a couple of weekly patrols. The results were immediate, and we soon went from a lot of vandalism to virtually zero incidents.
“We actually set up a night syndicate of only 20 people so that all and sundry wouldn’t be fishing it. I do think you do need people who can be trusted.
“We have a very active committee of 18 members who put in over 100 hours a week maintaining and improving the lake and its all self-funded – the council gives us a reasonably priced lease in return.
“They do also provide some specific help – for example we had a blue green algae outbreak this summer and they supplied the hay bales.
“We also try to encourage local youngsters to take up fishing by providing monthly taster sessions with equipment provided.
“I restocked the lake when I took it over and we now have over 100 carp of 20 lb plus which is high for a lake of only 3.2 acres.
“The winter night fishing is so good catches of over 400 lb have been made, and we now have 900 people on the waiting list for nights,” Scott added.
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