ANGLERS across Castle Point have been left angry, upset and out of pocket by a thieves targetting their fishing tackle.

The angling community has seen thousands of pounds worth of equipment being stolen from garages and garden sheds.

Gone Fishing, an angling shop with branches on Canvey and in Benfleet , has offered a sympathetic ear to a number of customers who have complained about their tackle being stolen.

One couple on Canvey saw £3,300 of equipment taken during a raid on their garage. Andrew Clarke, 47, and his wife Susan, 44, of Jasmine Close, Canvey, said the fishing equipment was stolen overnight between Saturday, August 11, and Sunday, August 12.

It is the second time the couple have been victims of crime this year, after £1,200 of tiling tools, which belonged to the self-employed Mr Clarke, were stolen in March.

He said: “It’s taken me a long time to get all that stuff. I’ve been collecting it for years. “I was so angry. We’re trying to claim on the insurance, but it’s not gone down too well after the garage break-in.

“They’re probably thinking there’s something suspicious going on, but I’ve worked hard to get what I’ve got.” Neil Bennett, the warehouse manager at Gone Fishing, has not only had to listen to customers’ concerns over the rise of fishing tackle thefts, but has also been a victim himself. Last month, he had £1,200 of equipment stolen from his shed.

The haul included a fishing rod that was given to him as a gift from a customer.

He believes the thieves even attempted to return to his back garden to steal what they couldn’t manage to carry away the first time.

Carp and sea fisherman Mr Bennett, 43, who lives on Canvey, said: “Whoever broke in knew exactly what to take and how much it was worth. “It’s a big issue on Canvey, but I don’t think there’s much the police can do about it. It’s taken me years to accumulate what I have got.

“It’s heartbreaking and I have sympathy with anyone who has had their stuff stolen.” Both men, who kept their sheds securely locked, have now taken extra security measures to protect their homes from raiders.