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Injured fisherman 'gutted' after £5,000 worth of nets damaged

PUBLISHED: 13:55 02 January 2019

Jeffery Melton is “gutted” after his nets were damaged in a targeted attack over Christmas. Picture: James Bass

Jeffery Melton is "gutted" after his nets were damaged in a targeted attack over Christmas. Picture: James Bass

Archant

A fisherman who lost his leg in a boat accident is "gutted" after his nets were damaged in a targeted attack over Christmas.

At least two trawler nets were damaged on the vessel, which cost the fisherman £5,000 combined. Picture: James BassAt least two trawler nets were damaged on the vessel, which cost the fisherman £5,000 combined. Picture: James Bass

Jeffery Melton of Lowestoft returned from holiday over the festive season to find the nets on his beloved trawler, named Serene Dawn, had been damaged.

The 56-year-old arrived to the dock near Hamilton Road, in Lowestoft on December 27 to find someone had strategically taken a sharp object to his nets and cut holes throughout.

He said: “All I can assume is I have upset someone and they have taken it out on my fishing nets.”

At least two trawler nets were damaged on the vessel which cost the fisherman £5,000 combined.

Jeffery Melton:“All I can assume is I have upset someone and they have taken it out on my fishing netsJeffery Melton:“All I can assume is I have upset someone and they have taken it out on my fishing nets". Picture: James Bass

Mr Melton said: “I make them to my specialisation by netting from Holland. My life goes into those nets.”

The seasoned fishman has already spent five hours mending the net, and is expecting to put in another 15 hours until it is fully repaired.

He said: “It was targeted on me, there are seven or eight fishing boats that weren’t targeted, it was just mine.

“If it was environmental, they would have attacked all the fishing boats docked at the time.”

Despite the attack, Mr Melton does not believe his fellow fishermen would damage his nets to jeopardise his catch.

He said: “I very much doubt that it is competition, when I had my accident everybody came together to support me so I don’t think it is somebody I would know, otherwise they wouldn’t do this.”

In 2015, Mr Melton was alone fishing for shrimp in the Wash, near King’s Lynn, when his leg got trapped in the engine of the same beam trawler.

He dragged himself from below deck in the fish room to the wheelhouse and called 999.

At the time, he said: “The coast guard asked me what my position was and I said I can’t give that to you, I am on the wheelhouse floor and if I stand up I am going to die.”

Police are now appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident, saw any suspicious behaviour or has knowledge about the incident to contact Lowestoft police on 101, quoting crime reference 37/74793/18.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org.

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