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.'

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments