It is a quiet spot on the Norfolk Broads where boaters come to moor and anglers fish from the bank of the River Ant.

But the peace and tranquillity of Irstead Staithe was disturbed this week by a row between a pair of foul-mouthed fishermen and a boater who was trying to moor up near their lines.

The incident was filmed by another boater and appears to show the anglers trying to stop the man from landing by kicking away his cruiser.

Now, the bust-up has sparked a police investigation, with officers confirming they had received allegations of threatening behaviour which they were looking into.

North Norfolk News: One of the foul-mouthed fishermen seen in the videoOne of the foul-mouthed fishermen seen in the video (Image: Norfolk Broads Forum)

In the video, which has been viewed more than 1,250 times on YouTube since being uploaded, the fishermen are seen kicking the boat away from the bank as it approached, telling the man onboard to "f**k off".

One of the men is heard saying: "This is not Broads Authority you t*t - you can f**k off."

He continues: "This is parish, not Broads Authority", pointing to moorings further along the staithe. 

Later, he says: "I'll put you in the f*****g" water if you come any closer".

Ownership of the land at Irstead Staithe is split in half - with one side being owned by the Broads Authority and the other by the Irstead Poor's Allotment charity but maintained by Barton Turf and Irstead Parish Council.

There are four moorings along the 40m staithe and the rules are the same all the way along, with anglers having to give way to boaters seeking to moor. 

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North Norfolk News: The land is split between the Broads Authority and the parish councilThe land is split between the Broads Authority and the parish council (Image: Adam Barker)

Glenn Neave, chairman of Barton Turf and Irstead Parish Council, said the fishermen's actions appeared to be "unforgivable". 

"It's unacceptable," he said. "That behaviour is not suitable anywhere. The language was abysmal and the parish council will be looking into it. 

"The fishermen were right in that one side of the mooring is Broads Authority and the other side isn't, and the bit where the chap was coming in to moor does come under the parish.

"But the rules are the same. It's 24-hour mooring all the way along."

North Norfolk News: Anglers and boaters at Irstead Staithe on Wednesday morningAnglers and boaters at Irstead Staithe on Wednesday morning (Image: Adam Barker)

The video was uploaded on the Norfolk Broads Forum YouTube channel with the description: "Disturbing footage of aggressive, abusive fishermen at Irstead Staithe".

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An angler fishing at the staithe on Wednesday morning said most fishermen will give way to mooring boats.

“I’ve been fishing as long as I remember,” the 88-year-old said.

“On the signs it says anglers are welcome but must give way to boats – that’s why I fish the Broads in the winter and not the summer because there’s too many boats.

“The Broads should be enjoyed by everyone - and by and large they are.”

North Norfolk News: The same 24-hour mooring rules apply all the way along Irstead StaitheThe same 24-hour mooring rules apply all the way along Irstead Staithe (Image: Adam Barker)

A spokesman for the Broads Authority said: "We are assisting Norfolk Constabulary with their investigation and so cannot comment any further on this."

Its guidance for angling from its 24 moorings states: "At moorings, anglers must always give way to boats wishing to moor."


Irstead Staithe is on the western bank of the Ant, one of the narrowest rivers on the Broads.  

As it flows through the village past the staithe, the waterway becomes even narrower and shallower.  

This stretch, known as the Irstead Shoals, has a natural sand and gravel river bed, unlike the mud found elsewhere on the Broads.

It is an especially popular spot for fishing.

North Norfolk News: A parish council sign at Irstead StaitheA parish council sign at Irstead Staithe (Image: Adam Baker)

Just upstream of the village is Barton Broad, one of the largest on the waterways.  

The Broad was created in the Middle Ages, as peat was extracted from the land for fuel, and it was not originally linked to the river.  

Instead, the Ant flowed away from Irstead and passed to the east of the Broad, through an area that is now marsh and fen.  

The river was diverted through the peat workings in the mid-18th century, to allow navigation, joining up with its original course at Irstead.