UK. Environmental officers & North Wales Police catch 6 illegal cocklers on the Dee Estuary
Cockles and boat caught in the operation
Photo: Cockles and boat caught in the operation
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Wednesday, 15 November 2006
Environmental news:

Environment Agency Wales' Fisheries Protection Patrols again proved successful on the Dee Estuary as six illegal cocklers were caught red-handed on Sunday night. Cockling is banned at present as the beds are closed to protect the stocks from over harvesting.

Environmental Crime Officers and North Wales Police, using specialist night vision equipment, spotted the illegal cocklers fishing on the Salisbury Cockle Bank of the Dee Estuary and kept them under observation as they harvested illegally.

The offenders came ashore in two inflatable boats, one landing at Glan y Don near to the Funship and one at Greenfield dock. Some of the cocklers tried to flee the scene but were caught shortly afterwards. Their inflatable boats and outboard engine, rakes, riddles and nearly Ł1,200 worth of cockles were seized.

The cockles have now been safely returned to the Dee.

North Wales Police Environmental Crime Officer PC Eryl Lloyd said; "The North Wales police and Environment Agency Wales are working together on the Dee Estuary to tackle illegal cockling. This patrol was part of an ongoing plan we have to protect the Dee cockle bed stocks and the wildlife that depends on them."

Alan Winstone, speaking for the Agency said: "This successful operation with North Wales Police was carried out following information received from the public and from high profile policing of the estuary. The cocklers clearly thought that they could break the law and damage a valuable fishery and wildlife reserve by working under the cover of darkness.

"This illegal harvesting is dangerous to the future of cockling on the Dee Estuary and the cocklers themselves. We want to thank the public for the tip-off. Along with our regular patrolling of the estuary and the publics' support we can ensure that incidents like this can become a thing of the past."
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2006 )
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