Following a four year campaign, Richmond Council will be authorised to prosecute unlawfully moored boats from 13 March 2015.

A council spokesman said for too long, parts of the borough’s picturesque riverside have been blighted by boats mooring with no permission and the council has campaigned for a byelaw to be introduced to clamp down on the offending vessels.

The byelaw means that from 1am on Friday 13 March, if any boat moors up to council owned or managed land it will be a criminal offence which could carry a fine and/or prison sentence.

Every 24 hours the boat is moored, or attached, to the land, a new crime has been committed.

Richmond Council cabinet member for environment, Councillor Pamela Fleming said: ‘I am delighted that all the hard work our officers and responsible river users have put into this byelaw application will be rewarded. Some of these boats cause a great deal of distress for people living in and visiting the borough.

‘We hope that we will soon see the end of these boats mooring with no permission along our beautiful stretch of the Thames.

‘Over the next few weeks we will follow up on the notices already given, and contact all those vessels currently in an unauthorised spot on the river and warn them that their unauthorised mooring days are over.

‘Time to move on or risk a fine.’