POACHERS have threatened to poison the drinking water supply of more than 50,000 people in a row with fishermen.
Gardaí confirmed they are taking the claims seriously and have stepped up patrols on the Pollan Dam in the Inishowen Peninsula in Co Donegal.
The threat is the latest in a series of attacks on local anglers who are trying to stop poachers from stealing salmon from the River Crana.
Now the poachers have warned anglers from the Buncrana Anglers Association and bailiffs from Inland Fisheries Ireland to back off or they will dump poison into the local dam.
A Garda spokesman said they will meet with anglers in the coming days to discuss the sinister incidents.
“This is a very serious threat and one which is being investigated thoroughly. I can assure you these threats are being taken seriously. We have been told that certain elements of this poaching group are capable of carrying out such a threat.”
Tony Morrison of the Buncrana Anglers Association said the poison threat in the latest in a series of incidents which has left anglers terrified.
He revealed that some of the 100 members of the angling club have been targeted for standing up to the poachers.
As well as their gardens being attacked and dug up, some fishermen have had their cars scraped with car keys.
The Crana River is one of the most popular salmon fishing rivers in Donegal with visiting anglers coming from as far away as America to fish it.
The BAA own the rights to the river and has spent €10,000 this year alone on spawning beds to ensure the future survival of the threatened fish species.
But Tony said the latest threat by the poaching gang to poison the dam is the lowest of the low.