Dawn raid on Lytham cocklers

The Cocklepickers' launch area at Lytham.
The Cocklepickers' launch area at Lytham.
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POLICE teamed up with town hall licensing chiefs, the coastguard and the Gangmasters Authority to carry out a dawn raid on cocklers on the beach at Lytham today.

The move came after weeks of problems with untrained pickers going out into the Ribble Estuary in treacherous conditions after the Foulnaze banks re-opened for the first time in 22 years on September 1.

Lifeboat crews have been called out to rescue stranded fishermen 26 times since Fylde Council began handing out licenses to those wanting to farm the cockle-rich beds.

They were called out twice more over the weekend and fears are growing it is now just a matter of time before someone is killed as RNLI resources become stretched to the limit.

The Gazette understands a number of unlicensed cockle pickers were discovered during the raid this morning.