TWO Coventry anglers and nine others face combined fines of more than £7,000 for fishing illegally.
Two Coventry men, Daniel Wells of Mill Tree Lane and Darryl Plimbley of Gospal Oak Road, were found guilty for fishing without a license along with nine other men at pools across the West Midlands during July and August last year.
On December 21, Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how the anglers were caught fishing illegally at pools in Bulkington, Worcester, Market Bosworth and Earlswood. The court issued combined fines of £7,113.
The fisherman were given higher than average fines with the highest total fine of £853 given to an angler from Redditch for fishing illegally at Weston Lawns in Bulkington. This is over 28 times more expensive than an annual £30 licence.
All the anglers were caught fishing without a rod licence by Environment Agency officers out on regular patrol.
None of the accused appeared in court, so all were found guilty in their absence.
Andrew Eardley of the Environment Agency said: “We’re continuing to see anglers receive significant fines for fishing illegally which is why I can’t understand the reasons some anglers continue to flout the law and risk prosecution for fishing without a licence.
“A licence costs just £30 and now lasts for 12 months from the day you buy it.
“Most anglers fish legally and are happy to have their licence checked, the minority that fail to buy a fishing licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport.
“Fishing licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.
“With most anglers fishing legally it seems ridiculous the minority still risk a significant fine like these we’ve seen here.”
Money from fishing licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including protecting stocks from illegal fishing, pollution and disease, restoring fish stocks through re-stocking, eradicating invasive species, and fish habitat improvements.
Fishing licence money is also used to fund the Angling Trust to provide information about fishing, to encourage participation in the sport and to manage a voluntary bailiff scheme.
Children under 12 fish for free. Anyone aged 12 to 16 also fish for free, but do need to have a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. Anyone over 16 must pay for an Environment Agency fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report it directly to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.