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Eight anglers receive penalties for illegal fishing trips

  • All cases heard at Northampton Magistrates Court on 19 December 2022
  • Fisheries enforcement officers clamp down on illegal angling to protect fish stocks and make fishing sustainable

Seven men from Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands, and one from Crewe, Cheshire, have been found guilty of fishing illegally on separate occasions earlier this year. Their cases were brought by the Environment Agency to Northampton Magistrates Court on Monday 19 December.

Christian Harold, 46, from Halford Street, Tamworth, was found guilty of fishing without a licence at Fisherwick Fishery in Lichfield, Staffordshire on 19 June 2022. He was proved guilty in absence and ordered to pay a total penalty of £295. The penalty includes a fine of £150, costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £60.

In a separate case Stephen Arthur, 35, from Heron Street, Stoke-on-Trent, was proved guilty in absence of fishing without a licence at Basford Pools, Cheddleton, Staffordshire on 27 August 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £345, including a fine of £150, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £60.

Jake Devine, 25, from Burford Close, Willenhall, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to fishing without a licence at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall, Staffordshire on 7 July 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £297, including a fine of £116, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £46.

Craig Haden, 32, from Easthorpe Road, Birmingham, also pleaded guilty to fishing without a licence at Fisherwick Fishery in Lichfield, Staffordshire on 19 June 2022 and ordered to pay a total penalty of £297, including a fine of £116, costs of £135.00, and a victim surcharge of £46.

30-year-old Aiden Meehan, from Heath End Road, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, was proved guilty in absence of fishing without a licence at Daves Pool, Wolvey on 2 July 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £345, including a fine of £150, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £60.

Jamie Park, 33, from Hales Gardens, Birmingham, was proved guilty in absence of fishing without a licence at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall, Staffordshire on 7 July 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty £345, including a fine of £150, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £60.

30-year-old David Richardson, from Walsall Road, Great Wyrley, West Midlands, was proved guilty in absence of fishing without a licence at Chorley Springs, Burntwood, Staffordshire on 27 August 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty £345, including a fine of £150, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £60.

Carl Melia, 63, from Drury Close, Crewe, was proved guilty in absence of fishing without a licence at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall, Staffordshire on 7 July 2022. He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £345, including a fine of £150, costs of £135, and a victim surcharge of £60.

Nichola Tomlinson, Fisheries Enforcement Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said:

These 8 anglers have been rightly punished for the illegal fishing they undertook this summer, and the cases show how seriously the courts take these offences. We hope the penalties received by the illegal anglers will act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of breaking the laws and byelaws we have in place across England.

Fishing illegally can incur a fine of up to £2,500 and offenders can also have their fishing equipment seized. We inspect rod licences 24/7, 7 days a week to check on cases of illegal fishing.

Illegal fishing undermines the Environment Agency’s efforts to protect fish stocks and make fishing sustainable.  Money raised from fishing licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of anglers and, for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence to fish. A 1-day licence costs from just £6, and an annual licence currently costs from just £30 (concessions available). Junior licences are free for 13 to 16-year-olds. Licences are available from www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by partners including the police and the Angling Trust. Fisheries enforcement work is intelligence-led, targeting known hot-spots and where illegal fishing is reported.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities can contact the Environment Agency incident hotline 24/7 on 0800 807060 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Background

Christian Harold was charged with the following offence:

On 19 June 2022 at Fisherwick Fishery, Lichfield, in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicensed fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Stephen Arthur was charged with the following offence:

On 27 August 2022 at Basford Pools, Cheddleton, in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Jake Devine was charged with the following offence:

On 7 July 2022 at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall, in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Craig Haden was charged with the following offence:

On 19 June 2022 at Fisherwick Fishery, Lichfield, in a place where fishing is regulated, was in possession of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line, with the intention of using it for fishing, contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Aiden Meehan was charged with the following offence:

On 2 July 2022 at Daves Pool, Wolvey, in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Jamie Park was charged with the following offence:

On 7 July 2022 at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall, in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

David Richardson was charged with the following offence:

On 27 August 2022 at Chorley Springs, Burntwood in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Carl Melia was charged with the following offence:

On 7 July 2022 at Baden Hall Fishery, Eccleshall in a place where fishing is regulated, fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely rod and line. Contrary to Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

Source: GOV.UK