In the past two months the Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS) has gathered momentum. It started as a small pilot project in the South East of England, but it is now growing very rapidly and chalking up a number of successes in the battle against poaching and other illegal activity on the banks. A very wide range of people have volunteered their time to work alongside paid Environment Agency staff.
Discussions are now underway with the Environment Agency about rolling out the VBS to the rest of the country. Any members interested in applying to become a Volunteer Bailiff should in the first instance email their full name, date of birth, address and contact numbers to email@example.com. Your details will then be added to our database – we’ll be in touch immediately recruiting starts in your area.
We are now investigating how sea anglers can become involved with the VBS to gather intelligence about illegal netting. The Environment Agency is working with the Angling Trust to train volunteers in pollution reporting and monitoring flood defences. The VBS is not just about poaching – it’s about making the most of the role that we anglers play as the eyes and ears of the bank & beach.
Our Fisheries Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar MBE, is working closely with the police. Dilip sits on the national Poaching Priority Group, along with other organisations like the Wildlife Crime Unit. The Angling Trust is also represented on the Defra backed, Poaching & Wildlife Partnership, and the SE-based Poaching & Fishery Crime Group – the latter working with the Metropolitan Police on Project Ghillie, a crack-down on crime and anti-social behaviour on London’s waterways.
It is absolutely crucial that all anglers report incidents and information concerning poaching to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. Fish theft is a criminal offence and must be reported to the police. The importance of reporting incidents and information cannot be over emphasised – the system will only work if we anglers provide the necessary information. Ask the Environment Agency to keep you informed about progress following your report. If you don’t hear back from them, please let us know.
For further information about the ‘VBS’, or any other matters related to fishery enforcement, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A full update on the VBS is now available on our website: www.anglingtrust.net/vbs
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