On Monday 14 September, Mareks Doniks of Smethwick, West Midlands, was found guilty at Stroud Magistrates’ Court of one charge relating to fishing without a rod licence at the Ripple Fishery on the River Severn, Gloucestershire.
He was ordered to pay a £50 fine, £717 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
The court heard that on 9 August 2014, Environment Agency enforcement officers were patrolling as part of Operation Stone, a programme of targeted fisheries operations to reduce illegal fishing, fish removal and theft on the rivers Severn and Avon. Mr Doniks was approached by an officer while returning to his vehicle. The officer asked Mr Doniks to produce his rod licence as he had been seen fishing on the river earlier that day. The defendant was unable to provide proof of a valid rod licence.
After Environment Agency officers had processed the defendant for the rod licence offence they returned to the location where he had been seen fishing earlier that day. There the officers found a bag containing a dead bream and eel.
In court Mr Doniks pleaded not guilty and claimed he was sat on the riverbank but was not fishing.
Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency Enforcement Officer in charge of the investigation, said:
No matter where anglers choose to fish in England, they need a rod licence. The money raised by the sale of rod licences helps us to carry out vital work to help maintain, develop and protect fisheries.
This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute individuals when they do not abide by the law.
Illegal fishing can be reported to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. You can also report illegal fishing and any other information on environmental crime, anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.