Fishery owner investigated for 'No Eastern Europeans' sign

media captionEddie Whitehead, who owns Dog Lane Fishery in Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire, said Eastern Europeans taking fish home cost him £10,000

The owner of a fishing lake who put up a sign banning Eastern Europeans is being investigated by police.

Eddie Whitehead, who owns Dog Lane Fishery in Napton-on-the-Hill, Warwickshire, said he put the sign up after £10,000 worth of carp was stolen.

He said he believed people from Eastern Europe visiting the lake before closing time were responsible and he wanted to protect his livelihood.

Police said they had received complaints the sign was racist.

Mr Whitehead, 75, said the fishery had a strict catch-and-release policy and that he explained the rules to all fisherman who used the lake.

He said he was not a racist and had put up the bright green sign, which read "No Eastern Europeans", four months ago.

He said: "A lot of Eastern Europeans come in late afternoons, very often before closing time, and they're taking the fish away.

"Over in Poland or wherever they come from it's a speciality that what they catch they do eat, but they've got to realise they're in England and they can't do it here.

"It's just cost me £10,000 to restock the lakes and I need to make my living."

'Mutual respect'

image captionMr Whitehead said it had cost him £10,000 to restock his lakes

Mr Whitehead said police officers had visited the fishery last week and ordered the signs be taken down.

Elizabeth Kardynal, who has worked with the Polish community since coming to England nine years ago, said she was "saddened more than anything else" by the sign.

"I wouldn't say it was racist because you can turn one hatred into another without resolving the issue", she said.

Miss Kardynal, who teaches in Walsall, said that people needed to be educated about the many different nations in eastern Europe.

"It's about mutual respect and mutual understanding," she added.

Warwickshire Police confirmed its officers had been to visit and had begun an inquiry.

A spokesperson for the force said: "The matter is currently being investigated to establish if any offences have been committed.

"All allegations of racially-motivated crime are treated seriously and are fully investigated."

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