A GROUP of Romanians has been illegally stealing carp from lakes and brazenly boasting about it on Facebook, according to furious anglers.
Fishermen from the Royal Forest of Dean Angling Club in Gloucestershire claim up to 20 men have targeted their local lakes.
They say the group are taking the carp home to eat after ignoring the huge signs which tell people to throw the fish back into the water.
The angling club claim it will cost them a staggering £2,000 to replace the carp – a popular dish in Eastern Europe – and have reported the problem to the police.
Adrian Lane, 55, is the club’s water bailiff and claims he chased 12 men who were “fishing illegally” and believes the men are from Romania and Poland.
He told the Daily Mail: “This problem has been going on for about five years but it’s gradually getting worse. We have noticed a reduced stock of fish in our lakes.
“These Romanians and Poles are exchanging pictures of their catches on social media.
“As soon as I saw those pictures on Facebook, I reported them to the police and it is now in their hands.
“But we have been dealing with these thieves on a daily basis and asking them to leave.”
He added that they have set up 24-hour patrols to protect the lakes and a dedicated team is trying to catch the men stealing the fish.
Mr Lane said: “Now we need to raise money to replace fish stocks because so many are being stolen. We can’t have these people coming on to our waters and stealing the fish.
“If you want to eat carp, you can buy it off the shelf in Morrisons.”
A Gloucestershire Constabulary spokesman said: “We can confirm that Gloucestershire Constabulary has received a number of reports of people stealing, or attempting to steal, carp from private waters within the Forest of Dean recently.
“No arrests have been made, and no offenders identified, but officers from our rural crime team are working with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency, and they conduct regular patrols to identify and deter potential offenders.”