Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Fear, Flying And Fishing

Outrage has struck local shores as news breaks that three residents have been arrested while enjoying the quiet sociable pastime of angling.

The incident began during the evening of Friday 7th March at the popular South Lakes location when a green laser pen, which was being used to deter ducks from diving after fish bait and getting their beaks hooked, was confiscated by two PCSO's.

A short time later a full-scale anti-terror operation was underway as 'at least' seven police officers stormed the scene and arrest anyone present, while a round-up operation was instigated to catch anyone who'd left the scene.

Apparently this follows a complaint from one pilot on 26th February that his aircraft was being targetted as he entered the approaches to Heathrow airport.

The men were arrested for 'endangering aircraft' and have had their DNA and fingerprints added to national databases.

Local LibDems have repeated their warnings about the public risk from thousands of new laws which can be applied without preamble.

Cllr Tom McCann said "These were all local men who knew some of the police officers involved... It doesn’t seem possible to me that the police really thought they were terrorists."

Reading East parliamentary candidate, Cllr Gareth Epps, described the events as a "surreal spectacle" and said he expected the matter would not end here.

Mark Reckons that the laws have been applied in a way which was not foreseen, that is, if any arrest was justified in the first place. He explains how this incident is reminiscent of veteran Labour activist and holocaust survivor, Walter Wolfgang, who was detained under anti-terrorism laws for heckling the then Home Secretary, Jack Straw.

Mark continues, "far too often, once the laws are [enacted] unintended consequences come to pass and the transient assurances from here today, gone tomorrow ministers are [proved] worthless".

Oranjepan says:
Now you know - don't scare the ducks, even if it is for their own benefit!

Perhaps these policemen could have attempted to engage these law-abiding citizens by providing useful information prior to any incident, rather than allowing the problems to escalate through neglect and then overreacting to cover up their own irresponsibility.

Through their confrontational behaviour these police have undermined respect for civil authority which weakens their ability to call for cooperation in other areas - criminals are rejoicing!

-

Update: Janestheone provides her commentary.

Mick identifies a prime suspect.

Graspthemettle provides a full commentary. Paul says the subject raises more questions than it answers, as highlighted by a cynical friend who said "I bet it was a police helicopter that flew low and slow overhead".

Meanwhile, Martin Salter MP has been re-elected as chair of the Parliamentary Angling Group, which is charged with defending the interests of anglers... where was he on this issue?

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