NEARLY 300 anglers were successfully prosecuted for rod licence offences within the first four weeks of the year.
Fines totaling £16,585 were handed out and the courts awarded costs of £16,665 to the Environment Agency. Each offender was, on average, out of pocket to the tune of £111.
Dave Clarke, the Agency’s Head of Fisheries, said: “A non migratory trout and coarse fish licence would have cost them £21 but instead they thought they’d save some money and cheat angling of much needed funds.
“Now they’ve been deprived of their own funds and we can guarantee they’re not laughing all the way to the bank.”
The Agency has vowed to start 2003 the way it means to go on. Its officers will be scouring the waters of
Dr Clarke said: “Those who try to save a few pounds by avoiding the licence fee not only cheat others but they cheat themselves. How can you enjoy the sport when you’re keeping one eye out for our officers, knowing you could be facing a fine of up to £2,500?
“Buying a licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 17,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them direct; and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662).