ANGLING equipment was among the catch of the day during a crackdown on rural crime.

The seizure, made at 7pm during patrols at the The Lawns fishing lakes, came during a day of action to combat rural crime in Highworth on Wednesday.

There was also a crackdown on traffic and vehicle crime after Wiltshire Police teamed up with colleagues from Hampshire, the Thames Valley and Gloucester-shire.

The Environment Agency seized the equipment after a 32-year-old man was unable to produce a rod licence while fishing.

Elsewhere, vehicle, fuel and licence checks were carried out throughout the day and, working with partners from the Vehicle And Operator Services Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and Wiltshire Council, the results revealed a long list of offences.

PCSO John Bordiss, from Wiltshire Police’s rural crime team, said: “This operation was a great example of multi-agency working at its best.

“Bringing together regulatory experts such as HMRC, Roads Policing Unit and Wiltshire Council enables us to target offenders robustly and efficiently.

“Our actions in Marlborough were mirrored in Highworth, Warminster and neighbouring police force areas, showing a high level of commitment by all involved to preventing and detecting criminality in rural areas.”

More than 350 cars were stopped during the exercise. Police issued nine fixed penalty notices, nine vehicle defect rectification notices and nine verbal warnings.

Police also impounded one vehicle, issued three prohibition notices and sent a person to court for traffic offences.

Rural crime is defined as any crime that affects those living, working or visiting rural areas, including hare coursing, theft of livestock and burglary of farms, and police work closely with community organisations including Horse Watch and Farm Watch to crack down on crime.

Angus Macpherson, The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, has a strong interest in rural crime and plans to conduct his first rural crime survey in October.

He said: “It is important that days like this happen every so often, unannounced.

“They are intensive and they are across the county so we get a chance to disrupt criminality.

"They give the public reassurance the police are there, they’re very high-profile, and also they give people the opportunity to get advice on motoring problems.

"I am keen to hear from people such as landowners, farmers, those with smallholdings or nurseries and anyone else who regard themselves as being part of the rural community of Wiltshire.

“Any feedback I get will help me better understand the impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on the people living in our rural communities.”