Reports of fish thefts from Dewsbury angling clubs prompt police investigation

Police in Kirklees involved in Operation Traverse are challenging anyone seen fishing to produce their rod licence.
Police in Kirklees involved in Operation Traverse are challenging anyone seen fishing to produce their rod licence.

Police in Kirklees have joined forces up with other agencies and angling clubs in the district to tackle poaching and fish theft.

Angling clubs in Dewsbury have reported a number of thefts, while there have also been reports from the Environment Agency (EA) in relation to the theft of fish and stock from rivers, canals and clubs.

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It prompted an investigation by police and various partners, including the EA and Angling Trust Voluntary Bailiff Service, which measured the significant cost incurred by local clubs due to damage and theft of fish.

In some cases, the crimes have resulted damage and loss of stock totalling tens of thousands of pounds.

PC Rachel Storey, of Dewsbury neighbourhood policing team, said: “There have been a number of reported incidents of poaching and thefts from local clubs and also the district’s waterways and we are working closely with the Angling Trust and other partner agencies to tackle this issue in Dewsbury and the wider Kirklees District.

“We would like to encourage members of the public to report incidents of poaching and theft of fish in the district’s waterways to the police.”

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Police and their partners began Operation Traverse in 2016 to target poaching, fish theft and the clear links to rural and wildlife crime.

Officers in Kirklees have been trained and familiarised with rod licencing and, as part of the operation, will challenge anyone seen on the waterways to produce their licence or give their details to an officer so checks can be made.

Giles Evans, from the Angling Trust, said: “The recently published National Police Chiefs' Council rural and wildlife crime strategies clearly identify that poaching and fish theft is linked to not only these crimes, but also to business, organised and hate crime.

“We are fully committed to supporting our partners in the Environment agency and West Yorkshire police, with these issues.

"Our Voluntary Bailiff Service, which is active in the area, are trained to report and record matters and I would urge anyone, who may have any information on illegal fishing or fish theft, to report these matters."

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Peter Mischenko, from the Environment Agency, added: “We take all reports of illegal fishing seriously. Any person found fishing illegally will be reported and dealt with by our legal team with a view to taking further action against them."

Call the EA helpline on 0800 807060 or the police on 101 to pass on information about a poaching or fish theft, or 999 if a crime is in progress.