Another 113 volunteers have joined the Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service following the latest round of recruitment across the country. It brings the total number of volunteers in the VBS to 492.

The latest recruits received professional training from the Angling Trust, Environment Agency and other partners at six full-day regional inductions held over the past two months and are already filing reports from their patrols. On one recent joint patrol with police in the South East, three people were arrested for allegedly stealing fish.

The VBS is part of the Angling Trust’s Fisheries Enforcement Support Service which runs in partnership with the Environment Agency and is funded by fishing licence money. This year, funding enabled 20 new volunteer bailiffs to be taken on in each of our six regions so, to make room for new recruits, the Angling Trust canvassed existing volunteers to identify those whose circumstances had changed and were no longer able to continue as a bailiff.

“The VBS has been operating for a number of years and, with changing circumstances and commitments, it will not always be possible or convenient for volunteers to contribute,” said Dilip Sarkar MBE, Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager.

“We recognised this and factored it into this year’s recruitment. Inevitably, on the day a small number were unable to attend but we were still able to induct 113 new volunteers. It now means the VBS has a very healthy ratio of active volunteers.”

Dilip Sarkar added: “It was particularly pleasing to hear the exclusively positive feedback regarding inductions, in which my team invests great effort, and likewise to see so many volunteers actively patrolling and reporting. I commend all of our volunteers for their positive contribution.”

After attending an induction day in the Midlands, recruit Mick Rowley, from Stafford, wrote and told us: “What a great day! I’m now a volunteer bailiff with the Angling Trust. Huge thanks to Kevin Pearson [Midlands Regional Enforcement Manager].”

Similarly, Paul Moore and Graham McNally from Stoke-on-Trent wrote: “We found the day really good and got a good insight into what needs to be reported and how the Angling Trust and the authorities link together.  The information gained will help our club protect its water.”

Following the induction day held in West Sussex, South East Regional Enforcement Manager Dave Wilkins said: “It is always great to welcome new volunteers to the VBS team. They have already had some excellent results with a huge amount of time recorded from patrols across the region and many incidents reported to the Environment Agency and the police including three arrests for fish theft. Great work!”

Graeme Storey, Fisheries Manager with the Environment Agency, said: “Voluntary Bailiffs are eyes and ears on waterways across England. This network of anglers, able to provide good information, is valuable in directing our enforcement patrols to catch those who damage the sport through illegal activity.”

Anyone that suspects illegal fishing is taking place should report the details to the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60, or the police on 101.

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