During the Bank Holiday Rod Licence Blitz, 14% of anglers checked in the Telford area proved to be rod licence cheats who were unable to produce a valid rod licence – despite warnings beforehand that the Environment Agency’s Environmental Crime Team would be out and about checking licences.

Of 62 anglers checked by the team, 9 were reported for being unable to produce a rod licence. We have a policy to prosecute all anglers found to be fishing illegally.

The evasion rate of 14% in the Telford area was more than double the average of 6% found across the four Midlands towns targeted in the blitz.

At many lakes and pools, we found that most anglers had rod licences. However there were some notable hotspots where anglers clearly thought they could get away with it.

Team Leader, Al Watson, says: “We will use the statistics that our blitz and other patrols produce to lead us towards offenders. We are determined to hunt down licence cheats. Our message is, if you don’t have a licence, we will find you and will prosecute you. Give yourself peace of mind when you go fishing – get a licence first.”

As well as targeted activity by the Environmental Crime Team, Water Bailiffs are out and about every day checking rod licences and we won’t hesitate to prosecute. A day’s fishing without a rod licence could prove very expensive indeed, with a maximum possible fine of £2,500.

Not only does a prosecution prove costly and leave the offender with a criminal record, it also marks an angler out as someone who cheats his fellow anglers. Rod licence money is used to help fund our work managing fisheries and to improve the sport for everyone.

-ends-

MORE INFORMATION Contact Lyn Fraley on 0121 711 5829/5855
(these numbers can also be used during an emergency to contact a duty press officer)


Notes to Editors:

The Environmental Crime Team targeted areas around four Midlands towns in the Bank Holiday rod licence blitz (Telford, Kidderminster, Worcester and Gloucester). They checked a total of 756 licences despite appalling weather. Forty-six offence tickets were issued. The overall evasion rate was 6%.

We are unable to identify individual fisheries for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Rod licences

Anyone aged 12 years or over who fishes for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England and Wales is required by law to have an Environment Agency Rod Fishing Licence. Rod licences differ from permits (often referred to as tickets or day tickets) which give permission to fish a particular water or waters and are issued by fishery owners. If you buy a permit, you still need a rod licence.

The onus in law is for the angler to prove he was licenced to fish at the time of the incident. If he fails to do so, he is liable to be convicted for the offence of fishing with an unlicensed instrument.

A rod licence entitles you to fish with up to two rods and line at the same time for coarse fish and eels, but with only one rod and line for trout, sea trout, char and salmon. Always check club rules and local byelaws regarding the rod limit on the water you intend to fish. Additional licences are required if you fish with more rods, where byelaws and rules permit.

You can buy Full, Junior, 8-day and 1-day licences from our website www.environment-agency.gov.uk You can also buy a rod licence from any Post Office in England and Wales, or on our telephone sales line: 0870 1662 662. From March to October the telephone line is open 8 am – 8pm every day, and sells all licence types.

Money from the sale of licences helps to fund our work managing fisheries. If you are caught fishing without one, you are cheating other anglers and could be fined up to £2,500.

New prices for 2007/08 – valid from 1 April 2007 – 31 March 2008


Category
                                                      Non-Migratory Trout and Coarse               Salmon and Sea Trout*

Full Season (expire on 31st March 2008)  £24.50                                             £66.50
Junior                                                    £5.00                                               £33.25
8 Day                                                    £8.75                                               £21.00
1 Day                                                    £3.25                                               £7.00
* Salmon and sea trout licence covers non-migratory trout and coarse fish as well

What other types of licence are available?
· Concessionary licences for Blue Badge holders and people in receipt of Disability Living Allowance.
· Concessionary licences for people aged 65 or over
· Welsh/English bilingual licences
Important notice
· Children under 12 years of age do not require a rod fishing licence
· Full and Concessionary rod licences expire on 31st March
· Failure to provide a valid Environment Agency rod licence could result in prosecution (maximum fine £2,500)

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