Recent court cases bought by the Environment Agency in the South West against those fishing illegally have resulted in over £1,000 in fines and costs.

Anglers who fish without a licence or who break by-law regulations are damaging the sport.

The improvements made to fish habitats and stocks are part funded directly from rod licence sales. The Agency is reminding all anglers to get their licence in time for the new season as the money goes straight back into the sport.

The £1,080 fines and costs were awarded against seven people at Chippenham Magistrates Court today (Monday, April 2, 2007). The details are as follows:

The following people were caught fishing without a licence at Rood Ashton Pond, West Ashton:

• Mark Jones, of Lamb Ale Green, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, was fined £150 with £70 in costs. The case was proved in his absence.
• Kevin Radcliffe, of Hornchurch Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, was fined £150 with £70 in costs. The case was proved in his absence.
• Stuart Mumford, of Furlong Gardens, Trowbridge, pleaded guilty and was fined £80 with £70 in costs.

John Dillingham, of Windrush, Highworth, Swindon, was fined £100 with £70 in costs. He had been seen fishing at Ivy House Lake, Grittenham, Wootton Bassett on 24 August 2006. He pleaded guilty to not having a licence contrary to Section 27 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

The Environment Agency also prosecuted Neil Powell of Minstrel Way, Churchdown, Gloucester, who was also seen fishing at Ivy House Lake, and Phil Hodgson, of Causeway View, Nailsea, who was caught at Shearwater Lake, Warminster. Powell was fined £100 and Hodgson was fined £150 and both were ordered to pay £70 in costs.

Nicholas Ludlow, of Redlands, Bratton, Westbury, was fined £70 with £70 costs after admitting fishing without a licence at Eden Vale, Westbury, on 4 June 2006.

Following these latest cases, Martin Williams for the Environment Agency, said:

‘The income we get from rod licences is vital to our work in improving the quality of angling in the South West and maintaining fish stocks and habitats.

‘We regularly check to ensure that fishery rules and regulations are being observed, and this will continue. We must also protect vulnerable fish stocks from exploitation during the close season on rivers.’