And fire, and water

When they set off for a regular raid, inspectors never know what they will encounter...

Often officials of the structural departments of the State Inspectorate visit courts and investigation authorities. During four months of the current year the Inspectorate officials spent at courts more than 3,4 thousand man-hours which is equivalent of over 140 days. Of course it is a pity that so much time is spent on non-direct responsibilities. However one can understand investigators and judges – they have their own area of responsibilities.

In May Inspectorate officers once again defended interests of the agency at the Rogachev district court. The case background: in April inspectors detained at the Dnepr near the village of Sverzhen of the Rogachev district one of the residents of the district who was illegally fishing with a line net. The poacher who had put a net where two nerflings were found, didn’t admit his guilt and refused to sign an administrative violation protocol and other procedural documents.

The court drew the line in this case: the violator of the environmental legislation was held administratively responsible and fined for the sum equal to 20 base amounts. He also had to pay a compensation for the damage caused to nature, i.e. 12 more base amounts.

After courtroom - raid

After court hearings on the case our group, including chief state inspectors of the Quick Response Directorate Dmitry Matveyev (senior official in the group) and Alexei Syrtsov as well as the author of this report, left for a raid. It was expected that for three days we would monitor the situation at water bodies of Rogachev and Zhlobin districts. And these days turned out to be pretty busy.

...We go towards an automobile bridge over the Dnepr situated within the Rogachev limits. We see a wide expanse of the Dnepr green banks and flood plain. All this beauty takes your breath away, gives strength, and boosts spirits. But we cannot admire wild nature for a long time. Having detected poachers Dmitry Matveyev exclaimed: “People with nets are on the left!” The Chief inspector Aleksei Syrtsov immediately turned the wheel to the left and our “uazik” started to turn back in the required direction.

There were six people, two of them – shaven-headed guys – who sorted through nets on the high Dnepr bank twenty meters away from the bridge. They were surprised by the sudden arrival of camouflaged people in the broad daylight – they froze in their places. The group was drunk. Somebody, seeing only three inspectors, tried to resent but then hot heads cooled down. Everybody set off for the Rogachev Department of Internal Affairs for identity check where protocols were made for being near fishing areas with banned fishing gear.

... In the evening we found ourselves at Lake Krushinovskoye of the Rogachev district. We got to this nice and clean natural water body by forest roads. Our arrival was not accidental. There was information that local poachers took a liking to it.

Having concealed the service car in a secluded place, we embarked on covert surveillance. One hour later a cart with two riders appeared on the forest road skirting the lake and swept by our observation point. Clearly they were in such a hurry not to admire the sunset. Soon we saw one of them in the binoculars when he appeared in a wooden boat on the water and, after short search, started to take out fish from nets. The video of the whole process was recorded. After detention we had to show this documentary film to the violator who refused to admit that he was fishing with nets.

The amount of illegally caught fish turned out to be small – only three fish: bream, tench, and pike. Three line nets 150 meters long were taken out of the water body. It is known that the damage caused to nature is calculated according to set rates when the calculated sum is multiplied by three. Thus the total amount was not small – 420 thousand rubles. Moreover, the detained violator will have to pay penalties in the sum of 10 to 50 base amounts. Let’s hope that this punishment will teach him a lesson for the future.

Fire at dawn

At dawn we started the inspection of the Dnepr bank line stretching from Rogachev till Zhlobin. Passing through the settlement Vischin of the Rogachev district we noticed clouds of smoke – flames were shooting from a straw heap dumped against the wall of the house in the inner yard. The fire spread across the whole yard and was about to reach sheds, standing opposite. Several elderly men tried to pacify the “red cock” but without success. If it had not been for the State Inspectorate officers the fire could have become a disaster. We straight away joined the struggle against the fire - we were trying to put it out with water and earth. In fifteen minutes through combined efforts we managed to put the flame under the control. In the meanwhile firefighters arrived – the hot spot was extinguished.

When we went to our service car to continue our inspection, around ten village residents gathered near the house. In their faces we could see that they were grateful.

And third one in bushes

And one more time we had to strain ourselves – at the Dnepr near the village Novaya Olba. This river area had been on the control list of the State Inspectorate for a long time.

— Poachers are most often locals here, explained Dmitry Matveyev. – To avoid detection they use boats without motors. They used to assign somebody who kept an eye on the surroundings from the elevation and gave alarm in case of something.

We detected poachers’ boat with two “passengers” in the evening when it was still light. We had not other choice as to approach them on the water. We had a boat ready for occasions like this. But instead of two we caught three violators. When the inspectors’ boat at full speed headed towards the poachers they abandoned nets and vigorously rowed towards the bank. In bushes we found a third one who had hidden there.

The violators didn’t have time to get fish but for their actions they will be held administratively liable. Three nets were seized on them and two more were discovered in the water body.

Inspector’s work is difficult. You never know what awaits you during next inspection – each of them is special. And when you can help people to save their home from fire you always feel good no matter which difficulties you encounter. On our way back to the capital we felt tired but were in great mood.