Fishing operation leads to weapons find

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TWO anglers have been detained after a poaching operation also revealed suspected illegal weapons.

Acting on a tip-off, enforcement officers from the Environment Agency swooped on Framwellgate on the River Wear, where they stopped an unlicensed angler who was fishing in a designated prohibited area on Wednesday.

The angler initially gave a false name and address, but when he realised that officers have the ability to carry out river bank checks on identity through local police officers, he offered up the correct details.

Later in the day, a second angler was arrested on suspicion of illegal fishing as he was coming away from the river with a fish.

He was interviewed at the scene and he admitted to having caught fish by foul-hooking, an illegal fishing method. A search of his vehicle revealed three more fish and other fishing tackle, which were seized as evidence.

The search also uncovered suspected offensive weapons and shotgun ammunition.

Police were then called.

Kevin Summerson, fisheries enforcement team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “We shall continue to police this area for as long as is necessary to bring a halt to this illegal activity.

“Those who continue to fish illegally in this manner need to realise the penalties that can be imposed by the court include fines of up to £2,500 or three months imprisonment, a ban from fishing for a period of up to five years, forfeiture of fishing equipment, forfeiture of vehicles used in the commission of the offence and a driving ban for up to six months.”