Police patrols stepped up after 15ft illegal dragnet found in Abington Park

The 15ft gillnet, which was found near a tree stump, behind the railings
The 15ft gillnet, which was found near a tree stump, behind the railings

Anglers have found a 15ft net used for illegal fishing discarded in Abington Park.

The gillnet, a commercially-used net used to trap large numbers of fish at once, was found behind a tree stump about 15 metres from the edge of one of the park’s lakes by members of the Abington Angling club.

It is illegal to use the gillnets in public waterways because of the massive impact they have on the eco system. It is particularly serious to use them at Abington Park because even fish caught there - which include bream and carp - using legitimate methods and with a permit have to be released alive.

Vince Battams, a member of the Abington Angling Club committee, said he found the net at 7am on Sunday and believes it was discarded by the poachers after they were disturbed by a dog walker.

He said: “A couple of us were down there and we noticed a big mess near the bank. After we found the net, we realised the mess must have been the material they had dredged up.

“We’ve heard lots of rumours over the last year about fish being taken, as well as ducks, but this is the first time we’ve found any actual equipment.

“It’s a terrible thing to find because there aren’t many fish left and the fewer there are the more club members dwindle.”

Mr Battams called the police, as well as Northampton Borough Council, who are the landlords of the lake.

A police spokesman said: “We took the dragnet to the police station then disposed of it.

“As a result of the report we are putting on extra patrols in the area to keep an eye out for more of this kind of activity.”

Gillnets, which are often made out of nylon fishing line-type material, are used in commercial fishing and feature a floating line attached to the top and weights on the bottom.

Poachers will normally wade or row into the water and arrange the net in a semi-circle connected to the bank.

The net is then pulled in and large fish that try to swim away get their heads trapped in the mesh.