Poachers using boats to steal fish from a Northampton lake in the dead of night are threatening the existence of a long-running angling club.
Secretary for Abington Park Fishing AC, Vince Battams, says club members have recovered a number of illegal gill nets and dead lines in recent months, placed in the water to snare the park lake’s freshwater fish.
Over the bank holiday weekend a group of anglers rescued a 6lb carp stranded in one such device and now they say enough is enough.
As the nets are being placed under the water more than 70 yards from the bank, it is believed poachers are using boats to fix them under cover of night.
Mr Battams, said: “As the club members are not allowed to fish at night, these poachers are making hay while the sun shines - or should I say when the moon shines.
“It is unlit and there is no security down there, so they must be using boats, a dinghy, an inflatable of some sort to fix these nets.
“We can’t go down there as a club mob-handed and try and stop them.”
In the past five years the fishing club has been hit by dwindling members and dwindling fish supplies.
An oxygenation problem led to the death of several of the smaller species, which in the past five years has seen memberships drop from 100 to around 40.
Mr Battams said it was key that the stocks of carp, tench and breams in the lake did not drop any more.
Taking fish from Abington Park Lake is illegal, but it is believed the poachers are catching the carp to eat or sell.
Mr Battams said: “If the fish continue to drop, membership will drop and the club will fold. There has been a community club on here for 30 years.”
The club, which is due to meet next week to discuss how it can improve security at the lake, has urged anyone who notices suspicious activity at Abington Park Lake to report it to police.