Council confirm that ‘magnet fishing’ is not permitted in Bedford’s rivers and lakes

Bedford's River Great Ouse, Longholme Boat House, Longholme Lake and Butterfly Bridge. Credit: ADC Films
Bedford's River Great Ouse, Longholme Boat House, Longholme Lake and Butterfly Bridge. Image: ADC Films,

Bedford Borough Council has confirmed that magnet fishing is not permitted in any of the Borough’s rivers or lakes after two unexploded devices have been dredged from the river since the beginning of the month.

The clarification comes after Bedford High Street and part of the Embankment was closed to traffic for four hours yesterday when a ‘suspect device’ was found in the River Great Ouse near the Swan Hotel.

The unexploded WW2 anti-aircraft shell was pulled from the river by people ‘magnet fishing’, a hobby that has become increasingly popular.

While there is an environmental element to the hobby, it is not without its dangers.

At the beginning of July, a hand grenade was discovered in the river in Bedford.

The Embankment was closed on 8 July after an exploded grenade was found

Read: Embankment and surrounding roads closed after ‘unexploded grenade’ found

Police were called at 3.15 pm, when roads were closed to await the arrival of the Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team.

A police spokesperson said: “The EOD arrived shortly before 6.30 pm and identified the item as an unexploded WW2 anti-aircraft shell.

“Roads were reopened at around 7.20 pm and the device was removed to Priory Marina where it could be detonated safely.”

Permission required

While Bedfordshire Police confirm that magnet fishing is not illegal, they say you may require a permit in some locations.

A Borough Council spokesperson said: “The Council allows fishing along the River Great Ouse and also at our two Country Parks: Harrold Odell and Priory.

“A permit scheme is in place at both the Parks, and fishing is permitted along the River Great Ouse without a permit. There are also many private angling clubs in Bedford and the surrounding areas.

“Magnet fishing is not permitted on the River Great Ouse or any of our parks. The activity, by its nature of removal of metal objects, can put those taking part and other members of the public in danger.”

One group who have been magnet fishing along the banks of the River Great Ouse have confirmed to the Bedford Independent that they will no longer be fishing in the county.

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