Mason Moore | Hinckley Reporter | 27 August 2021
BOSWORTH MP Dr. Luke Evans has visited Gospall Fly Fishing Club with a local Police Constable and is now raising awareness of illegal fishing and other rural crimes, after he was made aware of an increase in the level of illegal activity on their land.
He visited the Club, based on the River Sence near Shackerstone last Monday (16 August) and met members with PC Charles Allen from Leicestershire and Rutland’s Rural Policing Team.
Members of the Fishing Club spoke to Luke, explaining some of the difficulties they had faced over the years, from illegal fishing, which is particularly common in the summer months, to fly-tipping and theft.
He then took a walk along the River Sence to see how the club works to positively manage the environment and increase biodiversity on the land.
Fishing has become a more popular hobby since the pandemic started in March 2020, with the Environment Agency selling 1,019,723 individual freshwater rod licences to adults in England, compared to the 882,989 in 2019 and 2020.
PC Charles Allan reminded club members that they should report any illegal fishing or other rural offences to the Police’s non-emergency contact number of 101, or 999 in an emergency.
He further stressed the importance of calling doing this, as the incidents can be recorded and responded to – ensuring the rural crimes are recorded is important in helping dictate the areas resources should be to.
When informing the Environment Agency of illegal fishing or other environmental crime, people should report the offence with the precise date, time, exact location, how many people are involved, how they got there and any other witnesses.
The Environment Agency can be called on their 24-hour incident hotline – 0800 80 70 60.
Dr. Luke has further alerted Rupert Mathews, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), of the different types from machine theft and illegal fishing to property damage.
The Member of Parliament has stressed that whilst Leicestershire ‘is blessed’ with lots of beautiful countryside, people still need to remain vigilant of rural crime.
He explained: “It’s a real shame to hear about the difficulties Gopsall Fly Fishing Club are experiencing with illegal fishing over the last few years. Although we are blessed with lots of beautiful countryside here in Leicestershire, it does unfortunately mean that we all need to remain vigilant of rural crime.
“I was pleased to hear last year that local police have launched a rural crime team to help battle the likes of illegal fishing, hare coursing and machinery theft.
“I would encourage those living in rural areas to join Rural Watch which is run by Leicestershire Police, to encourage local residents to help prevent rural crime by sharing information.
“It was great PC Allen was able to join us, and my thanks to the Club for inviting me down, and I look forward to taking them up on their offer of joining them to try my hand at fishing!”