The case was brought to Northampton Magistrates Court on 18 February 2019 where Michael Burton from Owen Street, Coalville, was proved guilty in absence and ordered to pay a total penalty of £611.47. An annual fishing licence would have cost just £30.
The penalty includes a fine of £440 plus costs of £127.47 and a victim surcharge of £44 after Burton was found in breach of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act (1975) on 7 August 2018 at Hermitage Lake, Coalville.
Following the verdict, James Anderson, fisheries enforcement officer for the Environment Agency, said:
The case shows how seriously the courts take these offences and acts as a reminder to anglers of the importance of having a rod licence. We hope it will provide a deterrent to any angler who is thinking of fishing without a licence.
All of the money raised from rod licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, benefitting anglers and, for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.
Every year across the country, thousands of anglers are prosecuted for not having a fishing licence. As well as cheating other anglers, fishing illegally can carry a hefty penalty. Getting caught without a licence could land a fine of up to £2,500.
All income from rod licence sales is used to fund Environment Agency work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, including improving habitats for fish and facilities for anglers, tackling illegal fishing and working with partners to encourage people to give fishing a go.
Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A 1-day licence costs from just £6 and an annual licence costs from just £30 (concessions available). They are free for those aged 13 to 16. Licences are available online 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 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.