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Hunt for ruthless ‘electro’ poachers

Created on 27/08/2010 @ 13:46
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A ruthless gang is suspected of dropping electric charges into local waters to poach thousands of pounds worth of fish.
Concern has grown this summer over dropping fish stocks, in particular at the recently stocked Garth Pools, two miles from Welshpool. And police have stated that they are working with the local fishing community to track down the culprits.
Anglers’ fears were confirmed earlier in the summer when one member of the Montgomeryshire Angling Association (MAA) spotted a red van acting suspiciously at the canal-side on the Newtown Road.
The angler parked his car and approached a gang of eight men before noticing a generator in the back which was connected to cables dropped into the canal. He reported seeing tubs of dead fish in the van before he fled after threats from the men. The police were formed and they have launched an investigation in co-ordination with the Environment Agency Wales.The top lake at Garth Pools near Guilsfield which has been closed
“There is a criminal element that appears to be electro fishing on our waters which is completely illegal,” said Andy Jones, the secretary of the MAA. “We are very concerned because it has cost us a lot of money and, not only that, the low stocks are putting off tourists coming here to fish so it is costing the area as a whole.”
Garth Pools was leased to the MAA following its refurbishment and only last year 400 new carp were stocked in the top pool. They have now virtually disappeared along with 15 established 20lb carp which can cost up to 800 pounds each to replace. It has since been closed (pictured).
“They have all disappeared since the Autumn,” said Andy. “We suspected something illegal was happening and some members have been there when vans have driven in and then turned around when they see the lake is in use. We are working closely with the police and the environmental agency to bring a stop to this sooner rather than later.”
Police urge anyone with information on the gang, or suspect illegal fishing or activity, to contact them or the environmental agency.
A spokesperson said: “Dyfed Powys Police have received complaints in relation to allegations of ‘electro fishing’ on the canals in the Welshpool area. We are looking into these complaints and will work with Environment Agency Wales on this matter.”
A spokesperson from Environment Agency Wales’ Environmental Crime team said: “We have launched an investigation following these reports and we are concerned. Fishing like this is illegal and has serious repercussions for the fish population. We are currently investigating leads and gathering and examining intelligence that will help us find the perpetrators. We are also looking to increase our patrols in the area working with officers from Dyfed Powys Police.

“If anyone does see anything suspicious we urge them not to approach the scene but contact us on 0800 80 70 60 giving us as much information as you can. We will fully investigate any reports we get in our efforts to catch those responsible.”


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