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Full Report: New powers to catch illegal cockle pickers

MSPs have agreed new legislation that will make it easier to arrest illegal cockle pickers on the Solway Firth.

In the five years since cockle picking was banned, no one has been prosecuted.

Nine years ago, 23 Chinese immigrants drowned while cockle picking in Morecambe Bay.

You can watch the full report from Matthew Taylor below.

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More laws to stop illegal cockle pickers

A bill that will give more powers to tackle the problem of illegal cockle picking on the Solway is expected to be passed in Holyrood today.

Cockle picking has been banned along the Solway to preserve stocks.

However gangs have been seen operating along the Solway, spurred on by the prospect of getting thousands of pounds for each catch.

Emergency services say they fear a repeat of the Morecambe Bay tragedy that killed 23 people in 2004.

Police step up crackdown on illegal cockle pickers

Constable Laurie Irving and Marine Compliance officers Kenny Merrilees and Jen Allan at Powfoot. Credit: Police Scotland

Marine Scotland Officers and Police Scotland officers have stepped up their patrols in relation to illegal cockle pickers on the Solway.

The crackdown is targeting people who are illegally harvesting cockles along specific areas of the Solway, where there are reports that poaching is taking place on a regular basis.

Constable Laurie Iriving, who has been patrolling the shores with Marine Scotland, said:

“The Solway has been a rich source of income for those who carry out illegal cockling and the force is keen to assist Marine Scotland to proactively patrol likely areas where the cockling occurs.

"We are also able to share information and intelligence about who is carrying out this type of activity, when they are doing it and where they are doing it.

"The public are a crucial part of this operation and we rely on their local information about what is going on in their communities.”

A Marine Scotland spokesman said:

“Marine Scotland Compliance now has a significant presence in the Solway area and is working closely with Police Scotland."

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