The Environment Agency has joined forces with Durham Constabulary in a Christmas crackdown on rural crime.
Fisheries enforcement officers supported police on patrols in the operation in Weardale on Wednesday night, 20 December.
It follows previous joint partnership operations in the north east to disrupt travelling criminals and gather intelligence about rural crime, including illegal fishing.
Also joining police and the Environment Agency was Weardale and Teesdale Mountain Rescue team and local Weardale farmers.
During the operation police used Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to target vehicles suspected of being linked to crime, as well as checking vehicles in suspicious circumstances and focusing on key locations.
The operation resulted in a number of suspected lamping activities in relation to game poaching – where a light is used to hunt animals. And intelligence was passed between police and fisheries officers about suspicious activity and vehicles.
‘We always act on intelligence’
Kevin Summerson, Fisheries Enforcement Specialist for the Environment Agency in the north east, said:
This operation is another example of the close relationship that has developed over a number of years with Durham Constabulary.
We work together every day to tackle many aspects of rural, environmental and wildlife crime. It’s a co-ordinated effort to disrupt potential illegal activity, identify offenders and gather intelligence.
Illegal fishing damages fish stocks and the environment and is unfair on anglers who abide by the law and buy their rod licences – the income from which is used to improve fisheries and habitats.
We always act on intelligence we receive and I’d urge anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing to contact us.
Sergeant Simon Rogers, from Durham Constabulary, added:
We regularly work with partners such as the Environment Agency on operations to tackle rural crime. Wednesday’s operation was part of our ongoing commitment to tackle and disrupt those who choose to commit crime in rural areas.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of crime should contact us on 101, or dial 999 in an emergency.
Anyone with information about illegal fishing is asked to contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour Incident Hotline on 0800 807060 or the police on 101. In an emergency or to report a crime ongoing always dial 999.