TWO men were detained in the early hours of Saturday (April 4) on suspicion of illegally gathering cockles in the Dee estuary.
Quad bikes, cockling equipment and cockles were seized in the joint operation by Environment Agency Wales, North Wales and Merseyside Police, which also included use of the North Wales Police helicopter.
The cockle beds in the Dee estuary are open to licensed fishermen from July 1 to December 31. They are closed for the rest of the year to protect stocks and ensure the fishery remains sustainable for future years.
The men, aged 36 and 27 from Morecambe in Lancashire, have now been reported for summons.
Alan Winstone from Environment Agency Wales, said: “The cockles are breeding at this time of year and taking them out of season harms both the cockle beds and the livelihood of legitimate cockle pickers who have gone through a tough selection process and are paying for their annual licenses.
“This operation should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of taking cockles out of season or without a license.
“Our enforcement officers will continue to patrol the area and use an intelligence-led approach to catch anyone acting outside of the law.”
“We are working closely with the police and local community to ensure that this valuable fishery is properly protected so that the interests of legitimate fishermen and wildlife are protected for the future.”