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Police target illegal fishermen hotspot on River Darent, but catch another offender

PUBLISHED: 14:25 06 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:25 06 April 2017

Kent Police

Kent Police

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Patrols started on March 15

Rural police officers have caught one man fishing illegally since setting up a new operation last month.

Operation Dew launched on March 15 to target anglers fishing illegally on the River Darent.

Working with the Environment Agency Fisheries Team, operation patrols will last until June 15 during the rivers ‘close’ season as well as further into the year.

Last week Kent Police’s Rural Liaison Team caught an 18-year-old man fishing on the river in Eysnford.

A spokesperson from the force said: “This stretch of river regularly suffers from illegal fishing and is a private stretch of river for use of the members of the Darent Valley Trout Fishers only.

“The man was not a member and was reported for fishing in the close season and fishing without a rod licence.”

Officers went on to check Brooklands Fishing Lakes in Dartford checking a number of people.

But their catch of the day came in the form of a 35-year-old, who was arrested for failing to attend court on an unrelated matter.

Sgt Marc Pennicott from the Rural Liaison Team said: “These results demonstrate our commitment to supporting our partners in delivering a first class service. Whilst most people who are fishing do so legally, a small minority chose not to do so and are often committing other offences as demonstrated by this arrest.

“Everyone aged 12 and over who are coarse fishing must hold a valid rod licence issued by the Environment Agency. The maximum fine for not having a rod licence is £2,500.

“It’s also important to ensure that people are not fishing on rivers during the close season as this is an important time to allow fish to breed successfully. People must also ensure they have permission to fish on private stretches of river as they may be committing an offence of the Theft of Fishing Rights and as well as being prosecuted and having fishing equipment seized.”

For more information about the laws surrounding fishing visit www.environmentagency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/recreation/fishing/31497.aspx.

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