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National bailiff guidelines set after knife attack

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 20, 2014

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NATIONAL guidelines have been drawn up to protect fishing bailiffs from violence after a Burton man was threatened with a knife by poachers

The best practice advice has now been published by the Angling Trust after John Anderson, a bailiff for Burton Mutual Angling Club, was threatened with a knife.

Mr Anderson said: “If I get anything from this it is to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“There is very little health and safety in bailiffing (if any), and there are no guidelines set out. I want to protect other people.”

The list now includes how to spot members of the public becoming aggressive, understanding migrant anglers and being prepared for changing weather conditions.

In January, Mr Anderson was pushed to the floor by poachers after he confronted them leaving Branston Water Park with a fish. He spent a day on a spinal board at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital but was not seriously hurt.

It is believed the two poachers were of Eastern European appearance and may not have realised it is illegal to take fish from waters in England.

In its guidelines, the Angling Trust now recommends that fisheries display multi-lingual signs, which can be downloaded free of charge. It also highly recommended that bailiffs carry its multi-lingual leaflets explaining UK angling laws.

It added that it must be equally acknowledged that many migrants do practise catch and release, and advised that when approaching migrant anglers, bailiffs must do so ‘fairly and without prejudice’.

It is also a sad sign of the times that the guidelines also list warning signs of potential conflict from the public, such as rapid breathing, swearing and shouting, and a red face.

The advice adds that if these signs are not recognised or dealt with then it could descend into a physical confrontation.

The guidelines are being circled to fishing clubs around the country.

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