PATROLS are being stepped up to combat illegal fishing on the River Wear.
Neighbourhood wardens will carry out the patrols between Cong Burn and Crichton Avenue, Chester-le-Street.
For a number of years people have been fishing in the Riverside Park area without day permits and in some cases, without having a licence at all.
Although signs have been put in place to deter illegal fishing, there is still a problem and neighbourhood wardens and Riverside Park staff can now challenge anyone fishing.
Anyone fishing without a permit can be asked to leave and reported to the Environment Agency for prosecution.
Durham County Council has contacted all local fishing tackle outlets to inform them and asked them to spread the word.
The authority has also spoken to water bailiffs, who have agreed to increase patrols.
Neighbourhood warden Tom Walton said: “The aim of the project is to combat illegal fishing and poaching. It is also hoped increased patrols will reduce antisocial behaviour.”
l To report suspected illegal fishing at Riverside Park call 389 0986.