Anglers are being urged to avoid buying lead weights in sizes that are illegal for angling use. The call, made by the Angling Trades Association (ATA), comes after it conducted research into the sale of lead shot on the Internet and in discount high-street shops. This revealed that some illegal weights are being offered for sale, leaving both the sellers and the users liable to prosecution.Lead weights

Since 1986, lead fishing weights of between 0.06 and 28.35 grams have been banned from sale and use for the purpose of weighting fishing lines in the UK. The legislation was enacted to protect swans from accidental poisoning through the ingestion of discarded weights - and to that end, a large range of non-toxic alternatives has been developed.

But despite the non-toxic alternatives being widely available, lead split shot in the illegal sizes are still being offered for sale. Naidre Werner, Chairman of the ATA, said: “Anglers have a long and proud record of environmental responsibility. Nevertheless, among the millions who fish each year will be some people who are unfamiliar with the lead weights legislation who might, through ignorance, break the law. The ATA is encouraging every angler to check his or her tackle carefully to ensure that it meets the regulations and to carefully check the small print on any online purchases that they make”. The ATA is contacting all 200 Trading Standards departments, run by local authorities, to ensure that officers are aware of the law and the need to prevent illegal lead weights being offered for sale.