Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/29/carp_rustlers/

Humberside koi carp rustlers trawl Google Earth

Ponds targeted from space, police believe

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 29th June 2009 10:30 GMT

Humberside Police reckon a gang of koi carp rustlers are using Google Earth to identify garden ponds from which they subsequently fish their booty.

East Hull has in the last three weeks suffered 12 nighttime raids, during which expensive carp and pond equipment have been lifted, according to the Hull Daily Mail.

Police Community Support Officer Sam Gregory insisted the evidence points to the dark hand of Google Earth. She said: "Google shows what is in your garden and you can see people's ponds. One of the properties targeted has an eight foot fence and is set back from the road.

"The pond is in the corner and can't be seen. Unless you were standing right next to the wall, you wouldn't be able to hear the running water."

Gregory explained that the organised thieves arrived "equipped with nets" and that officers had "found a head band with a light on it".

She added: "They are either operating in their local area or have access to a vehicle."

Victim Robert Barnes, 65, who lost four carp, confirmed the getaway vehicle theory. He said: "My neighbour later told me she had seen two young men with a bike with a box on it and a big black net."

Nigel Dawson, 40, was relieved of 13 koi carp and his expensive filter system and described himself as "devastated". He admitted: "I didn't see or hear anything."

A Google spokesperson offered: "Google Earth is built from information that is available worldwide from a wide range of both commercial and public sources.

"As such, Google Earth creates no appreciable increase in security risks, given the wide commercial availability of high-resolution satellite and aerial imagery of every country in the world.

"Criminals could use maps, phones and getaway cars but no one would argue that these technologies are responsible for the crime itself, that responsibility lies with the perpetrator."

Anyone with info on the fish-rustling perpetrators is asked to call Humberside Police on 0845 6060222. ®