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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 05:36 GMT 06:36 UK
Lord seals off cockle beds
Collecting cockles on mudflats
Lord Cavendish has blocked access cockle beds
A Cumbrian Lord is moving to stop over fishing of his cockle beds in an effort to protect the interests of local fishermen.

Lord Cavendish, whose stately home is Holker Hall in south Cumbria, has shut off access to foreshore areas owned by his estates near Flookburgh.

Lord Cavendish says he has taken the decision after a rise in the number of people from Britain and abroad taking up cockling.

Lord Cavendish said: "I have been upset and angered by the unscrupulous nature of over fishing of the cockle beds and the mess which is being left behind.

"I have reacted to the wishes of local fishermen who have plied their trade here for centuries with the permission of my family."

Unscrupulous cocklers

Gates which lead onto the sands of Morecambe Bay have been closed on the orders of Lord Cavendish, whose home is often used by members of the Royal Family for private stays.

No-one can now go past the gates without prior permission of Holker Estates.

Lord Cavendish claims some unscrupulous cocklers along the Cumbria coastlines often earn up to 1000 a week.

Cockles are loaded direct onto ships in Morecambe Bay or onto articulated vehicles and taken abroad.

Some cocklers, who are known to be claiming state benefits, have been the subject of raids by government fraud investigation teams and officers investigating illegal immigrants.

Lord Cavendish said his action was designed to protect beds off Flookburgh for local fishermen.

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