Saboteurs filmed in attack on anglers: Anglers face a new threat to their sport after saboteurs, some wearing wetsuits, spent five hours wrecking a fishing match. Peter Dunn reports

POLICE were called to a fishing match on the river Avon near Chippenham, Wiltshire, after 40 supporters of the Campaign for the Abolition of Angling (CAA) attacked a meeting organised by the Swindon Isis angling club.

About 50 competitors watched in astonishment as frogmen emerged from the water and emptied keep nets. Other demonstrators, some in small boats, blew hunting horns, beat dustbin lids under water and dragged ropes across the river to create waves.

The event, which was filmed for a new series of the Channel 4 access programme Free For All, drew angry complaints from club members that they had been 'set up' for the cameras. Peter Gilbert, chairman of the club, said later that a large pile of litter collected by the saboteurs and photographed by the London film company, Filmit Productions, had not been deposited by his members.

Davey Shephard, spokesman for the Bristol-based CAA, warned yesterday that the incident marked the beginning of a national campaign against anglers. Mr Shephard said that although the group had only 200 members it could call on support from thousands of hunt saboteurs. He said: 'Two of our supporters were assaulted after the cameras had left the Isis club match. One was pushed in the river, another was hit on the nose. It's possible their violence will increase but it wouldn't put us off sabotaging anglers. We want angling banned.

'Three reports since 1980, two of them by the University of Utrecht, say fish are capable of feeling fear and pain. Anglers say they just want to enjoy the countryside. We say they don't have to abuse fish to do that.'

The CAA says it has produced a video for schools called Angling: the Neglected Blood Sport, which features a live eel having its head chopped off.

Its newsletter, Pisces, draws attention to 'the bright side of the recession' - the bankruptcy of tackle shops.

Isis club members reacted angrily to the disruption of their match and the presence of cameras. 'It was a total set-up,' Mick Lansdown, 37, said. 'They showed up with this litter but I can take you down there now and it's one of the cleanest pieces of river in the country. And it's rubbish about the violence. Considering they were going round with sticks tapping people's fishing rods they'd paid pounds 150 for, I think the anglers behaved very well.'

Filmit's executive producer, John Sampson, declined to comment, but a Channel 4 spokesman yesterday denied allegations that the club had been targeted for the film. He said: 'CAA sent in a proposal that said there would be a disruption of this match on 17 January so it was clear that the demonstration had been planned and was going to take place anyway.'

Davey Shephard said: 'We wrote to Filmit and asked if they'd be interested in our issue. They asked us to outline what we'd do and we sent back a synopsis. If all you suggest to them is sitting in front of a camera talking, that probably hits the bin. At that point it was decided that the direction of the programme should be sabotaging a match rather than talking about it. There was a good chance it would have been sabotaged anyway but to be honest it was selected specifically for the film.

'The company came down a few days beforehand to check the venue, to make sure it was film-worthy and during that time we talked about what we wanted to get over on film.'

Peter Gilbert, the club chairman, said yesterday: 'I've heard of isolated incidents involving a few agitators at matches but in 20 years of angling there's been nothing on this scale. So far as I know this was the first and largest demonstration of its type in the country, a very big effort because the TV cameras were there.'

'I told my members afterwards that angling won a great victory on this day because members weren't provoked into violence. Having said that this sort of thing will have to be dealt with. You can't just sit around and let them get away with it because obviously the police aren't going to do anything.

'I'm totally non-violent but in future anglers will have to organise a group which would have the right to eject saboteurs with a minimum of force. This would be the right way to nip it in the bud.'

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit