Police pay out of their own pockets to hook teens on fishing
Police officers in Carmarthen are funding a scheme out of their pockets so children can fish for free, according to a news report from BBC Wales.

As a result, vandalism at Cwm Oernant Ponds in the town is said to have dropped dramatically since officers started to pay for rod licences for youngsters.

Forty-nine people, including police officers, their families and friends, pay £1.00 a week to cover the costs. The organisers now say the youngsters have responded by looking after the area and are learning new skills.

The Cwm Oernant Ponds Project was set up by retired police officers Ellis Davies and Jeremy John. It started when Carmarthenshire Council invested in the area - clearing rubbish from the lake and building fishing platforms and bridges.

To help cover the cost, the council started charging people to fish the ponds and Mr Davies said some youngsters took exception to this and started vandalising them.

In exchange for a promise to look after the site the policemen started the fund to pay for fishing licences for the youngsters.

Mr Davies said: "You're talking about disadvantaged kids here - many of them could barely afford a fishing rod for Christmas. They thought they weren't allowed to fish there and so some of them thought 'if we can't fish here, nobody can' - so they caused some damage. We started the project - the kids police the place themselves. They don't pay for licences, so we've established a fund where 49 of us pay £1.00 a week into a bonus ball competition which pays for the licences.

"There's a lot of peer pressure, the younger kids see the older kids behaving. I think it's a good example of giving the kids responsibility, keeping a bargain with the people they see as being in authority. All the kids want to do is fish and one thing fishing teaches kids is patience."

Parent Aneirin Heath said: "It gets kids this age out of the house and off the computer. The police have organised it for free, they supply the bait, the rods, the reel, the line, so it's good for the kids to come out and try something different."

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