A SECOND fishing club in Huddersfield has called for action to stop poachers.
As reported last week, Huddersfield Angling Association has suffered the theft of thousands of pounds worth of trout.
Now members of Hillhouse Angling Association have spoken out about the growing problem of illegal carp fishing.
Secretary Steve Hewitt said: “We’re in danger of getting poached to death.
“We work hard to maintain our pond and these people come in and abuse it. They’re vermin as far as I’m concerned. They’re like rats.”
The club, which has an exclusive membership of 45 anglers who pay £30 a year, uses a pond in the Holme Valley.
Members do not want to reveal its exact location because of the poaching problem.
The pond contains tench as well as carp, some of which have been in the pond for 15 years.
But stocks have suffered substantial losses at the hands of people who have broken a large hole in a hedge at one side of the water to get to the fish.
Confrontations with people found fishing illegally in the past suggest the main culprits are East European.
Carp is a popular dish in Poland, where it is eaten for Christmas dinner.
Member Simon Jenkinson said: “Last year we found a frying pan at the side of the pond where they had obviously cooked one of the fish.
“Fishing is a great British pastime that’s getting destroyed by people who don’t understand our culture.”
The club has looked into the possibility of putting up a fence at the cost of £14,000 and is now carrying out daily patrols to monitor the area.
President Alan Berry said: “Unless we can stop it, the pond will become unfishable, not only for us but for our children as well.”
Det Con Russ Conlon, West Yorkshire Police’s Kirklees divisional wildlife crime officer, said: “Club members pay money so they can have the pleasure that’s being taken away from them,” he said.
“Whether something costs £1 or £1,000, theft is theft.
“To some people this may not seem like the most heinous of crimes, but to these people it’s extremely serious.”
Any person found fishing without a licence faces prosecution by the Environment Agency and a fine of up to £2,500.
Det Con Conlon encouraged other fishing clubs that had experienced problems to contact him.
Anyone with any information should call him on 0845 6060606 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.