Late night fishing has been banned from a Hampstead Heath pond after “rowdy” night-time sessions.
The City of London Corporation, which runs the Heath, has banned fishing at the Vale of Heath pond between 8pm and 8am following a rise in anti-social behaviour.
But the head of a local fishing group says tougher actions should be taken against bad behaviour and that anglers feel “persecuted” by the ban. Chair of Hampstead and Highgate Angling Society Robert Gibbs told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the anti-social behaviour is down to “a few bad apples” and most anglers respect the area.
He added: “The vast majority of anglers who fish Hampstead Heath ponds are very responsible people – respectful of the environment, other Heath users and, of course, the fish we catch.
“Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples who seem to use late night fishing as an excuse for a rowdy time while leaving litter, which clearly upsets nearby residents and tarnishes the reputation of all anglers.
“This is an ongoing situation involving the usual suspects who seem not to care about the consequences of their actions. There should be scope for firmer action from the authorities – spot fines, confiscation of tackle, etc as the previous ‘light touch’ hasn’t worked.
“Responsible anglers feel persecuted by the ban, which they will observe, while the miscreants carry on regardless. Losing their Heath permit to fish won’t bother them.”
The City of London Corporation has declined to go into detail about what the anti-social behaviour is.
A spokesperson for the authority said: “Due to ongoing complaints of anti-social behaviour, which is supported with evidence, a decision has been taken to suspend night fishing on the Vale of Health Pond.
“Angling will not be permitted between 8pm and 8am until further notice. Anyone found fishing on this pond during these time may have their Hampstead Heath Angling Permit revoked. Night fishing is available at other ponds on the Heath.”