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Ornamental fish theft on the rise

Published: 23 August 2018 - Fiona Garcia
 

With reports of theft of high-value fish, such as koi carp and ghost carp, on the rise from ponds across the UK, garden centres and homeowners are being advised to be vigilant and even consider microchipping the animals.

According to the Metropolitan Police stats, over £250,000-worth of ornamental fish were stolen in a 12-year period in the London area alone, but more worryingly, there were only five charges or summons as a result, says security specialist Blink.

It is not only fish that are at risk of being stolen. There are also reports of tens of thousands of pounds worth of fishing tackle being taken from properties, with powerful hydraulic tools used to open security doors.

Garden centres with pond centres are also at risk. In 2017, £7,500 of fish were stolen from Squire’s Badshot Lea centre in Surrey in just one nightime incident but plenty of other centres have had similar costly break-ins.

According to Blink, private ponds, garden centres and fisheries can all be targeted by criminals using tools such as the Google Earth feature of Google Maps, which provides detailed satellite images of a given area. Drones can also be used in this new trend in crime, and, worryingly, they are easily bought and have very little regulation in their use, Blink explains.

Micro-chipping high-value fish has been suggested as a precaution, but Blink suggests there are other easier options to consider, such as installing a security and video monitoring system. This will keep a watchful eye on a property and its contents and will make the prosecution of theft far easier to track and investigate.

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