ENGLISH DIG IN FOR WORM WAR.
The border raiders are digging up the wrigglies with giant garden rotovators - and selling them for bait at pounds 1 EACH.
The 30-strong gangs are scaring off young Scots anglers who take their buckets and spades on to the beaches to search for bait.
Now officials are investigating a number of "incidents" on the beaches in East Lothian.
The gangs are coming into Scotland from the Newcastle area and targeting beaches in the Prestonpans and Port Seton areas.
George Strachan, of the Cockenzie and Port Seton British Legion Sea Angling Club, said:
"This is a great concern as our local anglers are being threatened and some are afraid to go on the beaches."
He said the gangs were coming north because they had been banned from digging up beaches in the north east of England.
He stormed: "They are arriving in cars, vans and mini-buses and sleeping in their vehicles in order to dig up to three times a day, depending on the tides.
"Our youngsters have been forced to buy bait from shops which makes it very expensive.
"These people are well organised and are grading the worms for selling purposes.
"We know that these worms are being sold for up to pounds 1 each at some competitions.
"It has come to the stage where they are now raping our beaches in order to sell bait commercially.
"The diggers are often moving in at night and are not always seen."
East Lothian Council officials are now set to meet Scottish Natural Heritage chiefs to discuss the problem.
A council spokeswoman said: "I think there is a very strong possibility of new bylaws being introduced to cover the entire East Lothian coastline."
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|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 18, 1998|
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