Poachers...

andygrey

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May 20, 2006
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Location
West Oxfordshire
A river I fish regularly is being persistently poached by a group of young men... telescopic spinning rods and Mepps with trebles etc. and every trout caught killed and taken.
They have been reported to the police several times for both their poaching activity plus threatening and abusive behaviour but keep coming back. The river has a public footpath running along a lot of it's length so it's not on private land.

Does anyone have any suggestions of the most effective (and legal!) way to deter this activity? PLEASE no suggestions of shotguns/big-sticks etc! These guys are rough-necks from the travelling community, not just local kids.

Thanks

Andy
 

diawl bach

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May 17, 2006
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We had that issue, I contacted NRW (the EA for you), local MP and the chief constable for the area requesting a workshop on fishery law for the guys on the beat. This was before the austerity measures that reduced the police force to recorders of crime so it may not be an option today but it worked for us then.

Following a well attended workshop held by NRW and the club we were given the mobile numbers of PSCOs who began to include the river on their beats while the NRW bailiffs actually turned up to the river for a change ( briefly). It helped bypass the slow 101 response and raised awareness in the local police. The issue did go away.

In the letter to the MP etc I stressed the fact that the club was a community group, that the average age of the club was relatively high, that crime was interfering with the physical and mental health benefits of angling, that a violent confrontation was a real possibility and that the activities of the poachers was undermining confidence in the rule of law.

You have to go above the local cop shop to get a meaningful response, make a noise. Good opportunity to meet the local police inspector and get your case across, ours, Paul Tinkler was a great bloke.
 

icejohn

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bristol
Unless you have an environment agency person catching them in the act. Probably with a police officer to hand to help arrest. If they under 18 very unlikely that much will happen. That's advise from a club bailiff I used to know.

Am assuming they not fishing this steam every day if they did any fish worth catching will be caught and they they wasting their time going back week after week assuming they killing what they catch.

Justice then becomes take the law in your own hands type approach which you mentioned not knowing lol. Unfortunately I have witnessed some very unpleasant little s@@@s screaming at a teacher "you can't touch me or make me do anything!"

BBC did a programme on asbo youngest offender like 12 years old steals cars. Gets caught and police drop him back with his mum. Police even say on the TV not much we can do until he turns of age. But maybe other people here got some good ideas for you.
 

andygrey

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May 20, 2006
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West Oxfordshire
Unless you have an environment agency person catching them in the act. Probably with a police officer to hand to help arrest. If they under 18 very unlikely that much will happen. That's advise from a club bailiff I used to know.

Am assuming they not fishing this steam every day if they did any fish worth catching will be caught and they they wasting their time going back week after week assuming they killing what they catch.

Justice then becomes take the law in your own hands type approach which you mentioned not knowing lol. Unfortunately I have witnessed some very unpleasant little s@@@s screaming at a teacher "you can't touch me or make me do anything!"

BBC did a programme on asbo youngest offender like 12 years old steals cars. Gets caught and police drop him back with his mum. Police even say on the TV not much we can do until he turns of age. But maybe other people here got some good ideas for you.
These guys are in their mid-twenties and I have photographs of them, I am also 100% sure I know the name of the main perpetrator. One of them got very aggressive when I challenged him and took a swing at me (which more by luck than judgment I ducked!) Still waiting for the police to get back to me following reporting this last week.
 

BobP

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Oct 28, 2007
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Wiltshire
Unless you have an environment agency person catching them in the act. Probably with a police officer to hand to help arrest. If they under 18 very unlikely that much will happen. That's advise from a club bailiff I used to know.

EA enforcement officers do not have the power of arrest for rod & line offences. Poaching is theft, and comes under the Theft Act and a police officer is required to enforce that. If the site is in Wiltshire then Wilts police have a very good wildlife crime officer.

 

ejw

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Feb 2, 2012
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675
Location
Helsby, Cheshire
Hi Andygrey
If you have a crime number (if not ask for one), as Diawl Bach suggested, take it higher. Once you get the Police "interested" the problem will go away, at the moment it is just too easy for the poachers.

My normal response to members of my club is - DO NOT approach any poachers, ring the police, request a crime number, observe from a distance until the police arrive (make a note of the times) or the poachers leave. If possible take pictures.
This is an ever present crime, that the police do not take serious enough, but by doing all the above it raises the profile.

Violence and abuse is the poachers weapon. I fished in Scotland on the Nith many years ago and was pleased that no one was on the river one evening ? Next morning the keeper explained why - Poachers were on the river a few nights ago and came across a chap fishing ? His body was found the following day, so no locals out !
Bit severe, but a warning to anyone who thinks approaching poachers is a good idea, leave it to the professionals !
 

jbe3

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Dec 8, 2011
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Glasgow
You have my sympathy, this can be a difficult and unpleasant problem to resolve. Some years ago our club suffered from poaching and vandalism to our hut and boats, the damage may have been a result of the perpetrators being told to stop fishing. Although some distance away the police were helpful and eventually arrests were made. The case went to court but was dismissed by the Sheriff, however poaching as a significant problem did decrease. I still encounter the occasional poacher and politely ask them to stop fishing as it is private water. Most do as they know they are in the wrong and are only looking for some free fishing. I would not escalate the situation on my own, if threatened go away and call the police. If the police are not helping then seek some legal advice on your options.
 

Hardrar

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Feb 6, 2011
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Location
North Yorkshire
Unless you have an environment agency person catching them in the act. Probably with a police officer to hand to help arrest. If they under 18 very unlikely that much will happen. That's advise from a club bailiff I used to know.

Am assuming they not fishing this steam every day if they did any fish worth catching will be caught and they they wasting their time going back week after week assuming they killing what they catch.

Justice then becomes take the law in your own hands type approach which you mentioned not knowing lol. Unfortunately I have witnessed some very unpleasant little s@@@s screaming at a teacher "you can't touch me or make me do anything!"

BBC did a programme on asbo youngest offender like 12 years old steals cars. Gets caught and police drop him back with his mum. Police even say on the TV not much we can do until he turns of age. But maybe other people
Unless you have an environment agency person catching them in the act. Probably with a police officer to hand to help arrest. If they under 18 very unlikely that much will happen. That's advise from a club bailiff I used to know.

Am assuming they not fishing this steam every day if they did any fish worth catching will be caught and they they wasting their time going back week after week assuming they killing what they catch.

Justice then becomes take the law in your own hands type approach which you mentioned not knowing lol. Unfortunately I have witnessed some very unpleasant little s@@@s screaming at a teacher "you can't touch me or make me do anything!"

BBC did a programme on asbo youngest offender like 12 years old steals cars. Gets caught and police drop him back with his mum. Police even say on the TV not much we can do until he turns of age. But maybe other people here got some good ideas for you.
It’s an impossible situation with the public footpath there, as they are in a public place and the police won’t be interested, unless you have proof they’ve been threatening, so there is little under our modern pathetically feeble laws you can do (two centuries ago man or boy, if caught, they would have been hanged in public)
An old friend of mine in Scotland had a similar issue, that the police weren’t interested in, so he bought a pair of Toza-Ken (not a cheap option) as travellers don’t like dogs, which he walked along the bank twice a day with on a leash for a week or two. He’d warned them they were poaching several times in a friendly manner.
One day he let them off the leash and they ran up to the four youths concerned, they were so terrified they all bailed into the river minus their rods. He walked up to the rods and shouted to the youths Och lads ya forgot your tackle , which he threw in the deep pool after them. They didn’t come back again.
I don’t advocate this action, as it could have gone badly wrong in so many ways. But his defence to the police, which he informed them of, was they were threatening and the police refused to act.
However your approach may be to contact the local police and explain and say they have been threatening, if the police won’t act, everyone is perfectly entitled to reasonably defend themselves and as long as you obtain a crime number upon which they don’t act, you can then advise the police that if they refuse to act, they are actually condoning the offenders criminal action and you will be going to your local MP and press, which usually provokes a police response and has worked for me in the past.
It truly is a sad reflection of the poor state of our society at present though. If it was Australia or the US they would have been warned by the local law enforcement officers ( with hand on holstered revolver)
Good luck with dealing with the issue.
I think I’d jump in too with 36 stone of canine muscle running at me!

67996A98-A698-4A6D-AFEF-DB88C596C34A.jpeg
 

kingf000

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Joined
Jun 13, 2016
Messages
2,229
A river I fish regularly is being persistently poached by a group of young men... telescopic spinning rods and Mepps with trebles etc. and every trout caught killed and taken.
They have been reported to the police several times for both their poaching activity plus threatening and abusive behaviour but keep coming back. The river has a public footpath running along a lot of it's length so it's not on private land.

Does anyone have any suggestions of the most effective (and legal!) way to deter this activity? PLEASE no suggestions of shotguns/big-sticks etc! These guys are rough-necks from the travelling community, not just local kids.

Thanks

Andy
This may be useful:


Our club has close links with the police and the response has usually been good. In the past I've tried 101 and it is useless. One time it cost me over £5 on my mobile and nothing happened, even though a police car passed me while I was on the phone! As it is a crime in progress, you can use 999 and follow the guidance in the attachment. By law, the police must attend the incident and can impose on-the-spot 'fines'. This needs to be pointed out to the person on the phone as they don't often know. Better is if the club can get the direct phone number of the local officer. We have agreed with the police that they can confiscate the tackle, which we donate to local children, charge £50 each for person poaching and £25 for each fish killed. The poachers don't normally return!
 

wobbly face

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Aug 21, 2009
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Not So Greater Manchester.
The Angling Trust worked hard to get into law about poaching as an offense. there is a Home Office code, which I can't remember of the top of my head which you can quote when phoning the Police. The quoted code means they should attend. The code refers to "THEFT OF FISHING RIGHTS". This is because even when poachers found with fish they can claim they caught in them a different part of river or even bough from supermarket , yes when fish are not even gutted. On a river it is impossible to say those fish are yours or the clubs unless marked in some way.
The biggest problem is getting the Police to respond and most won't even know about the Home Office code.
 

glas y dorlan

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Oct 26, 2008
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mid wales
If you want Police to sit up and pay attention then sadly the road to go down is bad publicity. Get in touch with the local press and give them your story including the near assault miss.
Trust me, bad PR will get them banging at your door to help.
Sad but true.
 

m r roid

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Feb 25, 2017
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I'm afraid pikies are like all other vermin, almost impossible to eradicate, more's the pity........
 

Calder Junky

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May 20, 2008
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By all means try to get the authorities to become involved but a bit of advice would be to neglect to mention upfront that you think the culprits are from the ‘travelling ‘ community’ Based upon bitter personal experiences they’re far less likely to be motivated to attend if they know up front what’s likely to be in store for them!!!! Best to let them think it’s just some misguided everyday thieving scum bag they need to deal with rather than the real deal!

Wonder if you get poachers in North Korea and if not, why not?🤔
 

Reg Wyatt

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Apr 28, 2008
Messages
1,162
Burst their tyres while they are fishing... (if they are using anykind of vehicle).

R
I think you want them to leave not become stranded next to your trout?
I know many of the river keepers on the Test & Itchen and they have terrible trouble with the afore mentioned poachers and get very little help from the Police. They all communicate via social media group chats and as soon as one gets trouble a call is put out and other keepers turn up to assist. There is a definite advantage in numbers and usually with dogs too. It's a very dark side to working on rivers that not many of us witness and of course the old threat of 'we know where you live' rings very true.

Reg Wyatt
 

aenoon

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Jun 12, 2009
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Location
Linlithgow, Scotland and anywhere i can wet a line
I think you want them to leave not become stranded next to your trout?
I know many of the river keepers on the Test & Itchen and they have terrible trouble with the afore mentioned poachers and get very little help from the Police. They all communicate via social media group chats and as soon as one gets trouble a call is put out and other keepers turn up to assist. There is a definite advantage in numbers and usually with dogs too. It's a very dark side to working on rivers that not many of us witness and of course the old threat of 'we know where you live' rings very true.

Reg Wyatt
Thats probably the best solution.
3 or 4 guys together, with a rather large argumentive dog or two, approaching said "poachers" would work.
 

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