Angling Trust, Regional Enforcement Manager – North West England.

Wow! That’s some title and it has to be said, a bit of a mouthful. It’s a great job and I’m very proud to hold the post. I commenced this fantastic job on 1st November 2015. I’m home based in North Manchester, working 2.5 days a week, covering from the Scottish border, down to the South Cheshire border with all bits in-between. It’s quite a big area and a real challenge. I get about a bit and have met some great people and visited some outstanding waters.

So what do I actually do? Well in brief my role is to use my 30 years of policing experience and a love of angling to try and present a more joined up approach to combat the serious problems facing angling. I try to be a bridge between the Police, Environmental Agency, anglers and other organisations. It sounds simple but it’s not.


Fisheries Enforcement Support Services.

The first step in trying to achieve this is EDUCATION !

Educating myself. Trying to broaden my knowledge of the problems facing angling and getting to know better the different organisations and individuals involved with it. How they operate and respond to the problems facing us and how they interact and communicate with each other. It was and still is, a learning curve but I now have a much better understanding of this. Credit must go to Dilip Sarkar, being the National Enforcement Manager, for arranging suitable training for me and my colleagues, providing a well- structured delivery plan and trusting me to get on with it. Then there are the five other Regional Enforcement managers, who along with me, cover the whole of England. We bounce ideas off each other on a daily basis. We share intelligence and experiences from our own areas and we work together very much as a team. We educate each other and we are quickly growing into a very effective force.


Educating others. Most Police forces in the North West area have their Rural and Wildlife Crime officers attend a week long training course to qualify for the role. Last year this was held at Lancashire Police HQ, Hutton Preston. Myself, the Building Bridges Team, along with Fisheries Enforcement Officers from the Environment Agency attended and presented on the crime problems within angling. We were granted a full morning to do this, which demonstrates real Police commitment. This was very well received and because of it we are getting a better service for fisheries related crimes in the North West. This will be repeated on other Police training days.

dl2Presenting fisheries related crime training to Officers at Lancashire Police HQ.

Fisheries Enforcement Workshop was held on 09/07/2016 at Reasheath College, Cheshire. All for free. Presentations from –  Police National Wildlife Crime Unit, Environment Agency, Institute of Fisheries Management, Angling Trust and CEFAS (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) Over 50 anglers attended this training, which was to assist clubs to better manage and bailiff their respective waters. The feedback was all very positive. There will be other workshops held in the future.


Fisheries Enforcement Workshop, Reaseheath, Cheshire.

I regularly attend angling club meetings and present on my role and what we are trying to achieve. I try to assist with any club poaching issues and provide free signage when I can. I am quite happy to attend your club, present and chat to members. Just drop me a line.


Wayoh Pike Syndicate AGM, Bolton. Getting organised to combat poaching.

I attend angling shows and game fairs to promote the Angling Trust and VBS. The next one I’m attending is the Northern Angling Show on the 1st and 2nd April 2017 at the Trafford Centre, Manchester. My colleague who covers the North East area, Giles Evans will also be there. We will be sharing a large stall with the E.A., CEFAS and Lancs Police. If you are attending the show pop over for a chat and brew.


The 2016 Northern Angling Show, Trafford Centre, Manchester.

Angling Alert system – Recently launched by the Angling Trust. It is a web-based communication tool that will provide anglers and the wider public with information on fisheries crime quickly – by text or email. The North West membership now stands at 192 and is growing rapidly. This system is similar to the Neighbourhood Alert systems that the police use. In-fact, we use the same company to provide it, so it is very secure and user friendly. We use this system to communicate quickly with anglers, e.g. To inform of crime trends or when fish diseases are found. You can join here –

The Voluntary Bailiff Service. VBS Induction – 1.   13/02/2016.  A historic day in North West with the induction of 22 volunteers.  A great bunch of anglers and a very enjoyable day. Like-minded people getting involved, educated and organised to protect fishing. All bar one are still part of the NW VBS.


The first NW VBS induction day.

VBS Induction (2) 24/09/2016. VB’s attended Lancashire Police HQ training School at Hutton Preston. Another great bunch of anglers, who all want to put something back into the sport. Great support from Lancashire Police who because of their belief in what we are doing, provided the fantastic venue for free. NW VB numbers now up to 38


The second induction day at Lancashire Police HQ.

VBS Induction (3) Is set for Saturday 13/05/2017 and will be held again at Lancashire Police HQ, Hutton, Preston. Please note this will be the last induction of recruits for the NW area for 2017. Because we have grown so quickly in numbers of VB’s, we now need to put our foot on the ball and spend more time on engagement and continued development with our valued volunteers. By the end of May 2017, we anticipate that throughout England we will have in the region of 500 Volunteer Bailiffs. Not bad in just 12 months!!

We are inviting applications & expressions of interest for VBS (3). So far we have over 30 North West enquiries for this date.  If you are interested, see foot of this blog for details.……

So that’s all the education explained. How are we implementing it?

Operation Leviathan. This is an anti-poaching multi agency operation involving the Angling Trust (VBS), the E.A. and various Police Forces. Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria Police are now signed up to this operation in the North West, along with numerous others throughout the country. Greater Manchester and Merseyside Police are being worked on and I’m confident, will eventually sign up.                         As our intelligence increases and improves we are better able to target crime hot spots using this Operation. I have a limited number of Operation Leviathan signs to give to clubs but they can also be downloaded from the A Trust website for printing and making your own. Just check with land owners and councils before fixing them. They can be used in the participating force areas. I.E. Cheshire, Lancs & Cumbria.

crop2The launch of Operation Leviathan with Cumbria Police, Penrith HQ.


VBS Patrols – For the 3rd quarter (01/10/2016 à 31/12/2016) the total number of patrols completed and logged onto our secure website was – 1671. This equates to 3,650 hours of time spent patrolling our precious waters. There were 32 incidents reported to the Police or EA and numerous items of intelligence submitted. Clearly our VB’s are getting out there, getting the message over to anglers and the like and making a real difference


Joint EA & VBS patrol. River Ribble.

Because of this vastly increased flow of angling crime intelligence……. Hot off the press is the appointment from 16/01/2017 by the Angling Trust of an Intelligence Manager, who’s role will be to manage the quality intelligence which we are now starting to obtain through VBS. The I.M. will also set up information sharing agreements with all Police forces and lead on the Angling Alert system. This is a big step forward for us and demonstrates firstly how far we have come in a very short time and secondly how much we value good intelligence and how professionally we process it.                      This will help us to identify crime hotspots and trends both local and national. It will enable us to very effectively focus precious Police, EA and VBS resources, through Operations Levaithan and Traverse (Eastern Counties) to combat poaching and other fisheries related crime. This is a big step forward.

Rod licence sales are up! Great news. The most recent figures; Season 2015 à2016, show an increase of 4,155 over the previous year. Giving a total of 1,210,201 sales or £21 million in income. This after several years of decline is indeed good news as all money raised by rod licence sales goes back into angling. There will be several reasons for this. One of which will no doubt be the increased focus on offences through social media and the general press on angling crime and the work of the VBS. For the full EA article see link.

I think you will agree that in less than twelve months of VBS this is real progress.

Why not join VBS and put something back into angling? See link for the North West –


VBS cap, handbook and note book.

Here are the VBS induction dates for all six English regions. If you wish to apply, please contact our administrator, Karen Sarkar,

Date Region Regional Enforcement Manager
08/04/2017 North East
22/04/2017 South West
29/04/2017 West Midlands
06/05/2017 Eastern
13/05/2017 North West
20/05/2017 South East

David Lees -Angling Trust, Regional Enforcement Manager, North West Region.




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