A new campaign which aims to target illegal fishing practices has been launched by police in West Norfolk.
Officers say the programme, known as Operation Traverse, is intended to address growing local concerns about the issue on the area’s waterways.
The campaign will see police teaming up with Environment Agency officers to conduct patrols around the area’s rivers, lakes and ponds this summer in a bid to catch those pursuing their sport illegally.
Notices will also be displayed in key areas in an effort to warn anglers not to break the law.
Sgt Mark Askham, of Norfolk Police, said: “Illegal fishing practices not only have a detrimental effect on rural communities and businesses, but can also be harmful to the wild fish population on stretches of our local rivers.
“We hope by patrolling the waterways and installing the posters, we will be able to help educate and encourage local communities to enjoy angling within the law.”
The operation was launched at the Mullicourt Aqueduct near Outwell, where the Middle Level River meets Well Creek, this morning.
The date was chosen to coincide with the first day of the coarse fishing season.
The campaign is intended to reduce offences including theft of fish, set line fishing, catch and keep fishing and seine netting, the practice where a seine or dragnet is used to catch fish.
And 100 signs warning anglers that their actions may be illegal have been produced to support the initiative, through funding provided by the county’s police and crime commissioner, Lorne Green.
He said: “I am delighted my office has been able to fund such a scheme in the west of the county.
“Illegal fishing is just one aspect of rural crime I am keen to tackle as part of my ongoing pledge to address rural crime in Norfolk.”