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Crime and punishment
  Salmon poaching on the Wye  

The River Wye has long been famous for its salmon. The right to fish in the river belonged to local landowners though, and they employed water bailiffs to prevent anyone else from fishing there.
Local people resented this, as they liked to fish for the salmon for much needed food. This led to trouble with the river authorities and the police on several occasions.
In 1878 poachers attacked water bailiffs at Crossgates, and hundreds of people turned out to watch poaching on the Wye near Rhayader.
The men doing the poaching used hooks or barbed forks attached to poles. They usually disguised themselves, and were often called Rebeccaites because the original Rebecca rioters had done this. (See pages on the Rebecca riots at Rhayader).
The local people supported the poachers and police found it hard to get evidence against them.

  Salmon poachers

Many local people regarded the poaching as a sport, and enjoyed outwitting the police. Things turned nasty in 1880, though.

The poachers took to arming themselves and often fired their guns in the air to show their defiance of the police. It wasn't long before violence erupted and people were hurt.


More about salmon poaching on the Wye...

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