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14 people caught fishing illegally in Suffolk over Bank Holiday

PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:20 06 May 2019

Fishers need a rod licence to fish in the UK, with some fish off-limits for the close season between March and June Picture: GARY MARKHAM

Fishers need a rod licence to fish in the UK, with some fish off-limits for the close season between March and June Picture: GARY MARKHAM

Archant

Anglers caught fishing without a licence over Easter could be in line for a hefty fine, say Environment Agency enforcers.

Patrollers spoke to more than 200 fishers in Suffolk and Essex over the Bank Holiday weekend, including those at Suffolk Water Park, Chantry Park and Broome Pits near Beccles.

After checking their rod licences, a total of 14 people were issued with offence notices in Suffolk.

Lesley Robertson, Environment Agency enforcement team leader, said: “It's a crime to fish without a valid licence and offenders could be fined up to £2,500, have their fishing equipment seized and be banned from fishing.

“All income from rod licence sales is invested directly back into maintaining and improving fisheries. Those who fish without a rod licence are having a direct effect on that work and are selling other anglers short.

“At £30 for a two rod coarse and non-migratory trout license, or £82 to also fish for salmon and sea trout, and short term options available too, the rod licence is great value for money.”

Anglers are also being reminded that fishing for coarse fish - freshwater fish besides salmon or trout - in rivers is off limits until June 16.

Anyone caught can expect to be prosecuted and face a fine. The three-month runs from March 15 to June 15.

Anglers must have a rod licence, issued by the government, to fish in the UK's saltwater and freshwater.

Occasional anglers can get a one-day or eight-day licence and those aged 16 and under can fish for free. Anglers under 12 do not need a licence.

“Our officers are deemed to be a constable for the purposes of enforcing the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, or any order or byelaw under it,” added Ms Robertson.

“These cases show that anyone found fishing illegally or fails to provide their name and address to an officer carrying out their duties may face prosecution and a fine.

“Our officers routinely undertake licence checks and we urge anyone with information about illegal fishing activities to contact us.”

Illegal fishing should be reported to the Environment Agency's incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.

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