Police are investigating reports that fish thieves have targeted a Gloucestershire lake.
Anglers called in police after being shown Facebook posts of men with fish believed to have been taken from the former colliery site in the Forest of Dean.
Water bailiffs say they are constantly chasing poachers fishing for carp to eat from lakes across the country.
But they say the problem at Lightmoor Pool near Cinderford is getting out of hand because it is being done so blatantly and has been highlighted on social media.
Adrian Lane says members of The Royal Forest of Dean Angling Club are so incensed some of them have signed up to become water bailiffs so they can check the lake around the clock.
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Both the police and the Environment Agency have agreed to increase their patrols, he said.
“They are robbing the lake blind and the problem is that the carp we have in the lake cost hundreds of times more than the ones they eat in Eastern Europe,” he said.
“We have just put two fish in Steam Mills Lake that cost around £3,000 and we just cannot afford to keep losing them like this.
“They know exactly what they are doing and one week I chased around a dozen men fishing illegally at the lake.
“They could just go to the Morrisons fish counter down the road in Ross-on-Wye but they choose come here.
“They haven’t emptied it yet but we cannot let it go on because it’s spoiling it for everyone else.”
Carp is a popular dish in Eastern Europe but anglers catch and return the fish they catch to the waters so they can breed and grow.
Mature carp found in the lake are worth thousands of pounds, unlike the younger, smaller versions seen on supermarket fish counters.
He added: “We want to stress that it’s just a very small minority. We have members of our club from Eastern Europe who fish within the rules.
“But people are getting very angry and I want to make sure this is sorted out within the law. “
Mr Lane says he comes across the odd non-Eastern European poacher, but he believes migrants are mainly behind the missing carp.
“We did have a problem when Bear Grylls was on the television catching fish and eating it,” he said.
Learn to fish for free
Royal Forest of Dean Angling Club are hosting a free ‘Let’s Go Family Fishing on June 23 2018 from 9am until 5pm at Lightmoor Pool
Anglers from 4 years onwards are able to participate, all tackle and bait will be provided free, along with supervision from experienced, trained anglers. Adults must stay with the child.
Lightmoor Pool is just off the B4226 near Cinderford. Turn at the sign for Forest Products and carry on to find the lake.
Places are limited so email: email@example.com or find information on the website www.rfodac.org.uk,
“People didn’t realise he was in the middle of the jungle and it’s not the same over here. We actually had people openly BBQing fish they had caught at the side of the lake.”
A 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.
“The Force is signed up to Operation Leviathan, the multi-force, multi-agency initiative which tackles the illegal taking of fish.
“We encourage anyone who has information about incidents or people they suspect of stealing fish, or committing any other form of wildlife crime, to report it to us on 101.”