From The Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/08/19/nfish19.xml A gang of masked animal rights activists has attacked a group of anglers, prompting fears that extremists are determined to widen the scope of their campaign of intimidation. The 35 masked extremists had earlier disrupted a grouse shoot before being moved on by police. A handful of people, some of them families, was enjoying a day out at the Bank House fly fishery, at Caton, near Lancaster, when the saboteurs arrived. Lucy Belson, of Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria, was fishing with a friend when they suddenly found themselves at the mercy of the gang. "They began throwing stones at my rod and one of them said, 'It's the easy way or the hard way. You've been sabbed.' They told me to pack up and go or I was 'going to get wet'." Fighting broke out as two anglers on a nearby stretch of bank struggled with the protesters. Miss Belson, a resuscitation nurse at Westmorland General Hospital, in Kendal, said: "I decided to get out of there and go home but suddenly they all ran towards me waving bats and blocks of wood, shouting, 'Get her'. "I was jostled and they smashed my fishing rod." As she broke away from the melee, Miss Belson saw another woman being punched in the face and several cars being vandalised. "I was shaken at the time but now I am angry," she said. "They are cowards and I certainly won't be frightened to go back to the lake. I love fishing and I have been doing it since I was a little girl." Lancashire police believe that the anglers were the victims of an opportunistic attack. Earlier in the day the saboteurs had tried to disrupt a grouse shoot at Lowgill, near High Bentham. At the height of the confrontation, police called in the force helicopter, an armed response vehicle and nine other vehicles. However, there were no arrests and the saboteurs headed away. Pc Duncan Thomas, the force's wildlife officer, said that saboteurs were increasingly attacking anglers. "Both anglers and grouse shooting parties should be aware of the threat to them and they should have contingencies in place to protect themselves." A Countryside Alliance spokesman said: "It does seem to be the way animal rights extremists are heading. Their issue is not animal welfare - it is about hating people. They simply want to cause trouble." Last year animal extremists attacked anglers on the Grand Union canal, in Milton Keynes. Some of the fishermen were thrown into the water. Tom Fell, the regional director of the Countryside Alliance for Cumbria, said: "These people will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. They are a real worry and a real danger."