Food poverty is being blamed for a rise in the number of people illegally poaching fish.
Patrols have been stepped up in response to concerns from anglers and seven offenders were caught in one week.
Fishing enthusiasts believe ‘increasing poverty due to the economy’ may be behind the rise.
Graham Parkes, chairman of the Blackburn and Hyndburn Angling Association, said he had confronted a number of people attempting to steal species such as carp, bream, and trout from waters managed by his group.
He said the problem was particularly bad at waters such as Super Street in Clayton-le-Moors, Calder River, near Whalley Abbey and Dunkirk Ponds, off Whalley Road.
Mr Parkes, 64, said he appreciated that times were tough but said poachers disregarded the money and hard work that members of the association put into managing the fishing zones.
He said: “I know that people are hard up and want to fish so they have something to eat but there are also hardened poachers who seem to be poaching not for this reason too who aren’t helping the problem.
“We have to pay to use these waters and put a lot of time into maintaining them so if people want to fish we want them to respect our work and pay fees through the association because otherwise it isn’t fair and could lead to reduced stocks if people aren’t registering what they catch.” More....