Cockling: Four tonnes seized from Burry Inlet illegal pickers

Cockle picker at Burry Inlet Over four tonnes of cockles were seized from illegal pickers on the Burry Inlet

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More than four tonnes of cockles have been seized from illegal pickers on the Burry Inlet near Llanrhidian, on the Gower peninsula.

Nine people were held by Environment Agency Wales (EAW) and South Wales Police for picking the cockles without holding a licence.

All have been reported for fisheries offences and could face legal action.

EAW said the practice was "incredibly dangerous" and "threatened the livelihood of licensed cocklers."

It has been working with police on an investigation into illegal cockle picking in the area.

On one visit to the Burry Inlet site, it said officers found the nine people picking from cockle beds and checks showed none held a licence.

'Unfamiliar tides'

The cockles were seized but could not be returned to their beds due to the tide.

EAW will now submit an incident report ahead of a decision being made on whether the illegal pickers will face legal action.

Lyn Richards of EAW: "This type of illegal activity threatens the livelihood of licensed cocklers and can be incredibly dangerous to people who may be unfamiliar with the tides.

"We strongly advise people not to try and take cockles illegally as they put themselves at risk of harm and of being prosecuted."

There is currently a waiting list for cockle picking licences as EAW only issue a fixed number each year.

In October last year, cockle beds on the Swansea side of the Burry Inlet were temporarily closed after shellfish samples tested positive for E. coli.

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