ANGLING: A CRACKDOWN has been launched on Halton anglers who flout the licence laws.

Full and concessionary rod licences were up for renewal from April 1 and as part of a national initiative to cut evasion, the Environment Agency's North West Region has appointed extra staff specifically to enforce the regulations.

The number of officers has increased from 40 to 52 and they plan to visit every fishery in the North West and check more than 20,000 licences during the next few weeks.

Darren Bedworth, regional fisheries enforcement coordinator, said: 'Rod-licence income is vital in funding the Agency's fisheries function, which undertakes work such as habitat enhancement, river surveys, emergency fish rescues and anti-poaching work.'

Anyone aged 12 years or over who fishes for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in rivers across the region must have an Environment Agency Rod Fishing Licence.

These are available from Post Offices, over the telephone, online and by direct debit.

Fishing without a rod licence is not only illegal but also deprives other anglers of valuable revenue to help protect and improve resources.

Licence evasion is taken seriously and can result in fines of up to £2,500.