Rugby borough fisheries investigated in unlicensed anglers crackdown

The Operation Leviathan team
The Operation Leviathan team

Unlicensed anglers in Rugby were targeted during a multi-agency crackdown around water courses across Rugby borough on Friday (July 14).

Rugby Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) officers, the Angling Trust, the Environment Agency and rural crime coordinator for Warwickshire Carol Cotterill visited water courses and fisheries checking for fishing licences and anti-social behaviour offences.

Eight water courses were visited including ones in Wolvey, Rugby and Coombe Abbey as part of Operation Leviathan.

A total of 52 licences were checked, with seven anglers issued with tickets by enforcement officers from The Environment Agency, for fishing without a licence.

One fisherman was found to have no car insurance and was reported for summons.

PC Stuart Baker from Rugby SNT said: "We are very aware of the impact anti-social behaviour and illegal angling can have on the local community and area.

"Working in partnership is key, it allows us to have a strong presence for the public's safety and to protect the waterways and prevent further anti-social behaviour and fish theft."

Operation Leviathan is a multi-force, multi-agency crackdown involving police forces, The Angling Trust and The Environment Agency, tackling fish poaching, theft and anti-social behaviour in and around water courses.

Richard Nightingale, a fisheries enforcement officer from the Environment Agency, said: "I can only echo the words of PC Stuart Baker.

"Working together with partner agencies including the police and the Angling Trust to tackle illegal fishing, theft of fish, other fishery offences along with assisting with tackling anti-social behaviour associated with these offences, means a more joined up partnership approach where we can share intelligence, information and utilise each agencies differing skills to ensure a safer community for all.

"We will continue to work together and proactively target persons who continue to commit offences."

The Angling Trust national enforcement manager Dilip Sarkar added: "This is a perfect example of partnership working in action, the police, Environment Agency and our Voluntary Bailiff Service all working together to protect fish and fisheries, and crackdown on fisheries related rural and wildlife crime.

"This sends out a very strong message and makes our waterways safer for the enjoyment of all. We are very grateful to all involved."