A FISHING contest for youngesters is expected to attract hundreds of children and teenagers across the county as it goes bigger and better than ever.

More than 200 youngsters turned out for the contest, organised by Cheshire Police, when it launched last year.

This year police officers expect the contest, which is organised specially for the summer holidays and open to all under-17s, will attract up to 300 youngsters.

The brainchild of PC Mike Shaw, he said: "This year should be even bigger and better.

"Everyone had a great time last year. Some were fishing for the first time and others were fairly experienced, but they all mixed together.

"We're inviting everyone who took part last year to come back and we're already picking up a lot of new entrants."

This year will see fifteen heats, compared to the twelve last year, with Crewe's first contest happening on August 15 at Border Fisheries, near Weston and the second on August 17 at Winterley Pool, followed by a grand final at Gawsworth Fisheries on August 23.

Cheshire's Chief Constable Peter Fahy described last year's contest as an amazing success'.

He said: "Not only have children and teenagers had something to occupy them during the holidays but they and their parents met and talked to Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers in a relaxed setting - it was another aspect of our being part of the community."

Application forms for the contest are available from community centres or by calling the local Community Action Team phone line on 0845 4586378 for Nantwich or 0845 4586370 for Crewe.

Snacks are provided and fishing tackle is available for contestents without their own equipment.

Small gifts are awarded to everyone taking part with trophies for winners of classes in the final.

Mike added: "Anyone who sees the great time these youngsters have fishing and meeting one another won't need any more convincing that this is a major holiday event."