A man fishing without a rod licence then changed the date on the notice served on him in an attempt to try to avoid prosecution, the Environment Agency told Swaffham Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tues).


Martin Chapman was spotted fishing by a water bailiff patrolling Reepham Fishery, Norwich  in February. He claimed that his licence was at home but when he realised he did not have one he bought a licence later that day.


He changed the date on the notice issued to him to produce a valid rod and line licence so that it was after the date on the new licence.


But his attempt at deception was noticed by an Environment Agency officer checking the licence against the notice and Chapman was invited to attend a formal interview.


During the interview he told officers that he was using fishing equipment bought for his son for Christmas and had assumed his wife had also bought a licence at that time. When he realised that wasn’t the case he thought there would be no harm done in altering the notice.


Chapman of Easton Way, Cawston, Norwich, pleaded guilty to:On 25 February 2006 at Reepham Fishery, Reepham, Norwich Norfolk being a place where fishing is regulated, you did fish for freshwater fish by means of an unlicensed fishing instrument, namely a rod and line, contrary to Section 27(a) Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.


He also asked magistrates to take into consideration two other offences of making and using a false instrument (the altered notice).


Magistrates fined him £370 and ordered him to pay £350 costs.


After the hearing Special Enforcement Officer Rupert Pyett said: ‘The cost of a fishing licence goes towards maintaining our waterways for the benefit of all anglers. A licence is issued to a named person and can not be backdated.


‘It is important that all anglers have a valid licence, which costs just £24 per year, to avoid this type of prosecution.’



Licences can be bought on-line, from The Telesales Service on 0870 1662 662, or from any Post Office.