A fishery in Oxfordshire which put up a sign saying “No Polish or eastern bloc fishermen allowed” could face legal action.
Polish fisherman Rado Papiewski, who said he was left “very upset and angry” by the notice displayed at Field Farm fisheries near Bicester, has raised more than £9,000 in the hopes of paying for the proceedings.
“We want the sign removed and to show that discriminatory signs like this one have no place in the angling community of Great Britain,” he wrote on the crowdfunding page.
“I was shocked when I visited this fishery in April and was told by the owner that he won’t let me fish as I am from Poland, because all Polish and Eastern European anglers are here to steal from him.”
Papiewski – who said he has written to the fishery asking for the sign to be taken down – runs the angling project ‘Building Bridges’, which aims to integrate fishing communities from continental Europe with local anglers in England.
According to the project’s website, anglers from countries such as Poland traditionally catch fish “for the pot”, while British fishermen and women tend to return fish to the water.
“I feel very strong about the fact that I am being treated in this way only because I was born in Poland,” Papiewski added.
Calling the sign “unlawful”, the Equality and Human Rights Commission said they will also be writing to the fishery to tell them to take the sign down, saying they will look into “enforcement powers” if they do not get a response.
“This type of sign should be a thing of the past,” a spokesperson said.
“Banning people from services based on their race or nationality is discrimination and unlawful.
“It’s right to challenge such out of date practices and any business that believes this is acceptable should think again before they find themselves facing legal action.”
But fishery owner Billy Evans has defended the sign, saying he will “stand up for what I believe in”.
“If they want to call me a racist for stopping thieves from coming on my private property that’s what they’ll do,” he told the BBC.
“I know I’m right and I’m doing the right thing.”