Thermal image cameras used to catch illegal night fishing

A picture taken on a thermal imaging camera which shows a heat signature.

A picture taken on a thermal imaging camera which shows a heat signature. - Credit: Environment Agency

Equipment capable of seeing in the dark is being used to catch illegal fishing in Norfolk.

Environment Agency patrols are using the same surveillance powers as police to enable them to employ thermal image cameras with the ability to record video footage at night.

Environment Agency enforcement officers

Environment Agency enforcement officers are targeting illegal fishing which often takes place early in the morning or late in the evening conditions that make detecting it more difficult. - Credit: Environment Agency

The camera has already been used for late night patrols along the Well Creek and Middle Level Main Drain between Wisbech and Downham Market after reports of illegal poaching.

Chris Middleton, fisheries enforcement officer for the Great Ouse and Fenland catchment, said: “With the winter months approaching it is great to have these cameras to help us catch offenders in the dark.

A picture of waterway taken on a thermal imaging camera.

A picture of waterway taken on a thermal imaging camera. - Credit: Environment Agency

“The kit can detect the heat signature so a person trying to set an illegal trap, or acting suspiciously will be easily noticeable using these cameras.”

Earlier this month the agency said it had issued 31 notices for illegal angling during an operation across East Anglia.

Anyone witnessing illegal fishing or finding a trap or net can call the incident hotline on 0800 807060.

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