Environment Agency enforcement officers arrested an angler on Saturday 14 May for giving false details and trying to leave the scene.
The angler was fishing at Overflow Pools, Stoke on Trent. Enforcement officers asked to see a valid rod licence; when the angler failed to produce one, enforcement officers asked for details to formally report the angler. The angler then gave false details and tried to leave the scene. Eventually the angler gave their correct information and was released. The Environment Agency will now consider all this information in any associated prosecution action.
Every year, nearly 1 million anglers fish legally, respecting each other and the sport. Every adult who goes fishing needs a rod licence. The money they pay to buy a licence supports fish, fisheries and fishing and protects the future of the sport. A small number of anglers refuse to buy a licence, cheating the sport and their fellow anglers.
Last year, in Staffordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands, Environment Agency enforcement officers checked 5,584 licences and reported 265 anglers for fishing illegally. For the minority who flout the rules, the most common offence is fishing without a valid licence. Fishing without a valid licence could land you with a fine of up to £2,500 and a criminal record.
Environment Agency’s Mick Hyde, Enforcement Team Leader said:
The vast majority of anglers who fish legally deserve to see those who flout the law brought to account. To that criminal minority our message is clear; we take robust action to stop illegal fishing.
All the money raised from rod licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, benefitting anglers and those cheating the system will be prosecuted.
Any angler aged 12 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A full rod licence costs from just £27 (concessions available). You can buy your rod licence online from the Post Office, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0344 800 5386.
Money from rod licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries, and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including protecting stocks from illegal fishing, pollution and disease, restoring fish stocks through restocking, eradicating invasive species, and fish habitat improvements. Rod licence money is also used to fund the Angling Trust to provide information about fishing and to encourage participation in the sport.
To help crack down on unlicenced fishing the Environment Agency urges anyone to report illegal activity by calling the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.