Illegal fishers fined after being caught in Chantry Park and Suffolk Water Park
Illegal anglers in Chantry Park and Suffolk Water Park are being fined hundreds of pounds each for flouting rod licence rules.
Ten people caught fishing illegally in Suffolk and Essex were among those fined almost £9,000 for unlicensed fishing offences at Luton Magistrates court on March 28.
The fraudulent fishermen were caught at Chantry Park, Suffolk Water Park, Newland Hall Fishery, Hanningfield Reservoir and Weeley Lakes.
Most were caught by the Environment Agency’s patrolling officers, but the pair of dodgy hook danglers in Chantry Park were identified thanks to a tip to the agency from a member of the public.
The court imposed a total of £8959.05, comprising of £6410 in fines, £1912.05 costs and £637 victim surcharges to 15 anglers, six from Essex, four from Suffolk and five from Norfolk.
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Lesley Robertson, Environment Agency enforcement team leader, said: “Our fisheries enforcement officers regularly patrol waters across East Anglia.
“During August, September and October 2018, our officers reported 15 anglers for 16 fishing offences across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
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“Those offences were investigated and on March 28, 2019 Luton Magistrates’ Court found twelve guilty of fishing without a rod licence, two of possessing an unlicensed instrument with the intention to fish, and one fishing without a rod licence and providing a false name and address.”
Fines issued ranged from £330 to £660, with each angler ordered to pay £127.47 in costs and a victim surcharge of between £30 and £60.
Anglers must have a rod licence, issued by the government, to fish in the UK’s saltwater and freshwater, with a 12-month licence costing between £30-£82.
Occasional anglers can get a one-day or eight-day licence and those aged 16 and under 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.
“The money raised through the sales of rod licences is re-invested and enables us to improve all fisheries including rivers for anglers.
“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.