North East Wales

Illegal cocklers caught on Dee Estuary

Three men have been caught cockling illegally on the Dee estuary.

Using night vision equipment, Environment Agency Wales officers spotted the men harvesting cockles at Greenfield at 02:00 BST on Wednesday.

Officers apprehended the men when they returned to shore, with help from North Wales Police.

They also seized a trailer, cockling equipment and two large sacks containing approximately 100kg of cockles worth about £200.

North Wales Police have also seized a vehicle used in the offences.

Only licensed cocklers are allowed to operate in the area.

The men, aged 20, 25 and 28, are believed to be from the Warrington area.

They were interviewed at the scene and are due to appear in court at a later date.

Agency officers returned the recovered cockles to the estuary.

Alan Winstone, from Environment Agency Wales said illegally harvesting cockles threatens the livelihoods of license holders.

"It is also a very risky business to fish these beds at night with no experience or knowledge as you could end up in serious difficulty," he said.

Issuing a warning against other illegal activity, he said: "We closely monitor activity on these cockle beds and other fisheries interests in north Wales and will take action against those we find fishing illegally."

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