The removal of fish from a pond in East Surrey because of anti-social anglers has sparked concerns for herons and local wildlife. Following consultations with police and conservators, Reigate and Banstead Council has had carp, goldfish and rudd - all illegally introduced into Burgh Heath pond - removed.
But Robert Russell, from Hatch Gardens, next to Burgh Heath, condemned the move as an overreaction which threatens wildife in the area, such as herons, who eat fish. He said: "What about the native wildlife who depend on this resource? It would only be the local herons (and anyone who likes to see these birds) who would suffer. That is just an overreaction to a small problem. There are a few lads who I have seen fishing there but they all seemed to be behaving okay."
The pond is owned by the council but managed by Banstead Common Conservators. Council leader Councillor Joan Spiers, who represents Kingswood and Burgh Heath, said: "They were removed because we get huge amounts of anti-social behaviour, normally associated with night-time fishing. They keep residents awake with noise, shouting and the radio. We have more cans there after a pleasant evening and it's just not reasonable. They drink, get drunk, have loud music and fight."
In response to wildlife concerns, she said: "We leave enough fish for the herons but not enough fish for these thugs to fish. They are not all removed because we want them to breed again." Simon Cowell, founder of the Wildlife Aid Foundation (WAF) in Leatherhead, said: "Why take fish out to stop angling? It seems absurd. Why not stop angling? It seems a better idea to police it better or get local residents to."