Warwickshire Police launch campaign to target illegal fishing gangs and unlicensed anglers

Police have launched a campaign to raise awareness of fish theft, illegal angling and anti-social behaviour around waterways.

Illegal fishing gangs and unlicensed anglers are being targeted in a new operation led by Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police alongside other police forces and in partnership with key stakeholders.

Operation Leviathan will see officers from Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police working alongside West Midlands Police, Gloucestershire Police, Cheshire Police, Gwent Police, Dyfed Powys Police and South Wales Police and the The Angling Trust, Fish Legal, Environment Agency, Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science(CEFAS) Police National Wildlife Crime Unit, Natural Resources Wales and other partners to stop illegal fishing and fish theft across the region.

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Part of the operation, which launched on Thursday, will educate anglers who may not understand British conservation-based angling law, that it is an offence to take fish from rivers, lakes and waterways without permission, supported by the Angling Trust’s ‘Building Bridges’ education and integration programme.

Operation Leviathan aims to coordinate action to stop fish poaching and illegal fishing by:

> Prevention - offering best advice and education to anglers, private water owners and partner organisations about actions put in place to prevent poaching.

> Intelligence - asking anglers to be observant and report suspicious activity to allow police to target offenders.

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> Enforcement - with good intelligence the police can target poachers and anti-social behaviour and take action. Officers will patrol riverbanks to tackle crime in targeted operations with partner agencies.

> Reassurance - by working together and publicising actions including activity, arrests, seizures and convictions.