Three anglers were this week ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and costs after Environment Agency bailiffs caught them fishing without a rod licence.
The trio were found guilty in their absence after Taunton magistrates heard how they had been caught illegally fishing at lakes and ponds near Bridgwater, Somerset.
The highest fine was imposed on Ashley Graham of Green Lane, Avonmouth, Bristol who was caught at Emerald Pool and ordered to pay £400 for having no rod licence and £400 for providing false details. He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £40, court costs of £150 and Environment Agency costs of £127.
Adam Wayne Trott of Collett Road, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton and Lee Pullin of Wroughton Drive, Bristol also received fines of £400 each after licence-dodging at Trinity Waters and Folly Foot Farm Fishery respectively. They also faced a £40 victim surcharge each, court costs of £150 and Environment Agency costs of £127.
Fisheries enforcement officer Richard Dearnley said:
There is no excuse not to buy a rod licence. They cost just £27 for a whole year and can easily be obtained from the Post Office or online.
If you choose not to buy a licence, not only are you cheating other anglers and the future of the sport but you risk a criminal conviction and a hefty fine.
Our enforcement teams will continue to carry out regular rod licence checks and crackdown on licence-dodgers,’ said Mr Dearnley.
The cases were heard by Taunton magistrates on August 17.
Anyone caught fishing without a licence can be fined up to £2,500