A fishing day trip to Carney Pools in Bishton, Stafford on 9 May this year for 2 men from Staffordshire has resulted in them each receiving a penalty of £619 for fishing without a licence.

Their cases were brought to Cannock Magistrates Court by the Environment Agency on Tuesday 7 December where 27-year old Jon Hill of Dunbar Close, Stafford and 20-year old Sean Hill of East Holme, Hilderston, Stone were each ordered to pay a total penalty of £619. An annual fishing licence would have cost them just £30 each.

The penalties include a fine of £440 for fishing without a licence contrary to the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act (1975), costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £44.

Following the verdict, Nichola Tomlinson, Fisheries Enforcement Team Leader for the Environment Agency, said:

This case shows how seriously the courts take these offences and we hope the high penalty will act as a deterrent to any angler who is thinking of fishing without a licence.

Fishing illegally can incur a fine of up to £2,500 and offenders can also have their fishing equipment seized. We inspect rod licences throughout the West Midlands and work 24/7, 7 days a week to check on cases of illegal fishing.

Money raised from fishing licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, benefitting anglers and, for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A 1-day licence costs from just £6 and an annual licence costs from just £30 (concessions available). Junior licences are free for 13 – 16-year olds. Licences are available from www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by partners including the police and the Angling Trust. Fisheries enforcement work is intelligence-led, targeting known hot-spots and where illegal fishing is reported.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities can contact the Environment Agency incident hotline 24/7 on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.