Illegal anglers will have nowhere to run and nowhere to hide over the May holiday weekend as the Environment Agency cracks down on people fishing without a valid rod licence.

Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dafydd Evans said: ‘Anglers must ensure they have a valid licence before they start fishing or face the prospect of prosecution. Fishing without a licence is an offence and anyone caught fishing illegally can expect to face tough penalties, including a fine of up to £2,500 and a ban from fishing.’

‘Licence dodgers are also cheating fellow anglers and the future of angling, as money raised by rod licence sales goes straight back into fisheries.

‘Last year, we invested £29 million on our fisheries, with £19 million of this coming from rod licence fees. Work including disease detection, enforcement of illegal fish movements, developing angling opportunities and facilities and audit of foreign species is all funded by rod licence revenue.

‘Over 12,000 people were checked over the May Bank Holiday last year with almost 900 offences reported. We are anticipating that even more staff will be out checking licences this year,’ Dafydd Evans said.

Enforcement teams will be making regular checks on waters across England and Wales between 29 April and 1 May 2006.

Buying a licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them direct; and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or from our web site – www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence <http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence>

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