http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 42,00.html
Masked saboteurs unleash violent attack on anglers
By Steve Bird
A GANG of masked hunt saboteurs wielding baseball bats smashed up rods, damaged cars and started fights in an unprovoked attack on a group of anglers.
The anti-bloodsports campaigners are believed to have targeted the fly-fishermen after failing to find many grouse-shooting parties to disrupt in the North West of England.
The gang emerged from woodland near Bank House Fly Fishery at Caton, near Lancaster. About 30 men carrying baseball bats and blocks of wood descended on the lake shouting “Sabs” before smashing the anglers’ rods, damaging nearby cars and starting fights. Two fishermen were assaulted and a woman was punched in the face.
Lucy Belson, 36, a nurse, who was fishing at the time, said that the gang had threatened to push her in the water unless she fled. She said: “I was enjoying a peaceful day’s fishing when this gang suddenly arrived. They began throwing stones and one of them said: ‘Its the easy way or the hard way. You have been sabbed.’
“They told me to get out or I would end up getting wet. It was a clear threat. Then a fight broke out on the lakeside between the gang and some anglers. I decided to get out of the place but they then ran towards me jostling me and waving baseball bats. They were shouting: ‘Get her,’ and they smashed my rod.”
Ms Belson, from Kirkby Lonsdale, said that the saboteurs would not stop her fishing: “I was shaken at the time but am now very angry. They are cowards but they will not frighten me. I will go back to the lake.”
Police believe that the saboteurs moved to the lake last weekend after disrupting a grouse shoot at Lowgill, Cumbria. It is thought that they then travelled to Abbeystead estate, where the Duke of Westminster entertains members of the Royal Family at the start of the shooting season. Because of the low numbers of birds on the Duke’s moorland the gang would have moved on, because there was no shooting party.
A police spokesman said: “This is a disturbing new trend, attacking people as they fish. Obviously we are looking at the criminal damage element. Fly rods can cost up to £4,000.”
Tom Fell, the regional director of the Countryside Alliance, said: “We have been warning anglers that their sport was under a very real threat. These people will stop at nothing to achieve their ends.”
North West Hunt Saboteurs said last year that it would start targeting fishing groups by disrupting angling competitions. At coarse fishing competitions, where the fish are thrown back into the water alive, the saboteurs are urged to erect ‘match cancelled’ signs, wire up gates, blow whistles and splash in the water to scare off the fish.
Wonder if they intend to disrupt Grouse shooting parties in a similar fashion.Were I to be Grouse Shooting and they come at me with baseball bats and hit any of us,they get the bird-shot and will nourish thier grouse
peacefully thereafter.I will be perfectly within my rights.Bastards.