POLICE have revealed there are no plans to crackdown on so-called 'magnet fishing' in canals, despite warnings about the dangers it poses.

It follows growing interest in the pastime, which sees people using strong magnets attached to long ropes to pull shotguns, pistols, grenades and shells from canal and river beds.

The Canal & Rivers Trust has banned the practice on the 2,000 miles of waterways it manages and the MoD has warned it is regularly being called to dispose of bombs and shells fished from canals.

Asst Chief Constable Gavin Williams of Wiltshire Police said the force had no plans to crack down on the practice in Wiltshire.

He added: “We work on the intelligence that’s coming into us and the intelligence we’ve got.

"It’s pretty good, members of the public do speak to us and we gain intelligence through dealing with criminals.

“If that [targeting magnet fishing] was a response that was legitimate then of course that’s one we would look at.

"But, at the moment, I’m quite content with the response we have.”

Last year, residents of Clifton Street in Old Town were given a scare when the army bomb squad turned up on their doorsteps.

It followed an emergency call from magnet fishermen Nick Bell and Andrew McWhinnie.

They had found an unexploded Second World War shell in a surviving stretch of the Wilts & Berks Canal at the bottom of Kingshill, believed to have been left after an artillery training exercise.

Despite the ordeal that brought police and the bomb squad to his door, Nick, 60, said it had not put him off magnet fishing.

He said of any suggestions at blocking the practice: “Quite frankly, I think it’s a little bit of nothing. If you’re living in a den of iniquity, which I don’t think Swindon is, perhaps loads of guns get lobbed in the canals.”

The shell was safely removed by the Royal Logistics Corps.

Yesterday, the Canal & Rivers Trust’s Gillian Renshaw told the BBC that magnet fishing was dangerous.

Despite the practice being banned, they had seen a rise in reports as the quirky fishing technique has gained popularity on social media.