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Rogue anglers banned from Torbay beauty spot

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Gangs seen fighting in Brixham quarry

Rogue anglers blamed for leaving rubbish, fish guts and human excrement at  a Torbay beauty spot have been locked out.

Anti-social behaviour and littering has been going on for more than five years at Berry Head Quarry in Brixham, where gangs have been landing ‘industrial’ quantities of fish.

Locals say they have been intimidated by the gangs, who have left litter strewn across the rocks, along with fish guts and human excrement. They are said to be reeling in thousands of mackerel and other fish before selling them.

On one recent weekend there was reportedly a fight in the quarry between members of an established gang and a group of newcomers. There have also been reports of rocks being thrown at seals to keep them away.

Berry Head is part of Torbay’s UNESCO-recognised geopark and home to greater horseshoe bats, a species rarer than the giant panda. The gangs have been disrupting the delicate habitat by putting up powerful lights.

Now Torbay Council has stepped in, putting up a large metal fence and gate across the road which leads down to the quarry from Berry Head itself. The closure came into force in the early hours of Saturday 8 June.

A pioneering system of ropes and buoys has also been devised independently and used to disrupt fishing from the quarry.

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of local concerns relating to recent anti-social behaviour in this location and the associated environmental damage it is causing.

“The temporary closure is required to allow us to work with SWISCo, the police and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust to improve management of the area. Our aim is to protect the environmental quality of Berry Head and ensure it is a safe and welcoming place for local people and visitors alike.”

The council says the closure will only affect the quarry area and access to parking, meaning the visitor centre and walks will be unaffected.

“We will look to reopen the site as soon as we are able,” said the spokesman.

Council cabinet member Adam Billings (Con, Churston with Galmpton) said issues at the quarry had reached a ‘crescendo’ in recent weeks, but stressed: “We are extremely clear that this is temporary. If we wanted to restrict access to the site we would have designed a fence, not a gate.

“We would love to be able to solve this quickly, but it takes time to bring something like this through. We have got to work with our partners and take everyone on the journey with us, but we are determined that we will get there.”

He said it was "gratifying" that the community had accepted the measures, and also thanked volunteers who had staged litter picks in the quarry area.

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