A FISHERY boss says he and his son were attacked by a gang after catching them stealing their prize carp for food.
Nick Devlin, 72, and Gary, 42, confronted the seven men when they discovered they had bags crammed with 12 fish worth £3,000 from the privately owned lake.
They claim the mob then surrounded and battered them — leaving Gary with a black eye and cut chin.
Nick said: “When I confronted the gang with my son about what they had done they lashed out at us. They were all surrounding us and swinging punches.”
The scuffle ended as police were called to the fishery in Chigwell, Essex.
Nick said officers told them the suspects were Romanian and were planning to eat the fish.
Anglers who use the lakes are supposed to throw back the fish they catch.
Angry Nick said police were going to arrest the seven but let them go after taking names and addresses because there was not enough room at the station to hold them.
He added: “There was also an argument because the officers arrested the men for theft then said because the fish hadn’t left the site there was no offence.
“I think the police were naive. They took names and addresses from ID cards but they’re likely to be fake.”
Essex Police yesterday denied failing to make arrests because of lack of station space — saying their officers left the two parties to agree financial compensation for the fish.
As they could not agree, police said inquiries into allegations of theft and assault are continuing.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org