POLICE were called to the grounds of an 700-year-old manor house following reports of illegal fishing on the site.

Officers were on patrol Southchurch Hall Gardens, a protected historical site, yesterday after it was reported people were magnet fishing in the stream which through the five-acre site.

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Patrols are being conducted by our Rural, Wildlife and Heritage Crime Officers at Southchurch Hall Gardens after reports of illegal magnet fishing occurring on the site.”

Southchurch Hall is a medieval moated manor house and a grade 1 listed building.

The current hall was built around 1321 – 1364 and has a Tudor and a 1930s extension.

Historians believe the hall probably stands on the site of a much earlier Saxon hall.

Now used as a museum, which attracts 18,000 visitors per year, the site is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Scheduling is Historic England’s oldest form of heritage protection, dating back to 1913.

A scheduled monument is a nationally important archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change

While some change may be possible, there is a presumption that they will be handed on to future generations in much the same state that we have found them.