On 12 February 2018, at Guildford Magistrates court, Lee Grant, 38, of Eton Road, Southsea, and James Black, 29, of Heathyfields Road, Farnham were each fined £660 for fishing without a fishing licence, with costs of £127 and a victim surcharge of £66 imposed after a prosecution by the Environment Agency. The total penalty was £853 each.
Magistrates heard that on 23 September 2017, an Environment Agency enforcement officer found Lee and James fishing at Badshot Lea Ponds, Badshot Lea. A valid fishing licence is required to fish all waters in England. Neither were able to produce a valid fishing licence and were reported for that offence.
James and Lee were each convicted in their absence.
David Brain, of the Environment Agency said
The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a fishing licence. We invest the money from fishing licences back into fisheries improvements, fish stocks and fishing, this is essential for the future of the sport.
The minority of anglers that fail to buy a fishing licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport. In addition fishing licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.
During 2015-16 the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 fishing licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report it directly to the Environment Agency hotline, 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crime stoppers on 0800 555 111.
You need a valid Environment Agency Fishing Licence if you are aged 12 or over and fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.
Junior fishing licences (aged 12-16) are now free, but you must still get a fishing licence online at www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence.
Try fishing. There are lots of events for spring and summer 2018 listed at www.getfishing.org.uk.
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