Mr Khan Marshall, 21, of Temple Dene Avenue, Staines, appeared before Woking Magistrates Court on 9 February 2007. He was fined £200 for leaving a rod unattended and a further £200 for fishing with three rods but only holding a single licence.

In a rare move reserved for persistent offenders the court banned Mr Marshall from holding a rod licence for the next two and a half years, after taking into account a string of prosecutions dating back to 2002.

The court heard that on the 10 July 2006 Mr Marshall had left his rod unattended at Twynersh Fishing Complex in Chertsey, Surrey, contrary to a national byelaw. A month later on 13 August Environment Agency enforcement officers discovered Mr Marshall at the same fishery using three rods but with only a single rod licence which contravened section 27(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.

“Mr Marshall has a long history of flouting the laws of fishing in this country,” explained Fisheries Enforcement Officer Graham Haynes. “From his first warning letter in 2002 he has appeared before magistrates three times for failing to hold a rod licence and giving false names and addresses to officers, racking up a total of £650 in fines and costs.

“It is very rare for an angler to be banned from holding a rod licence, but this extreme measure was taken because of Mr Marshall’s persistent offending. If he is caught fishing within those two and a half years he can expect his equipment to be confiscated, as well as finding himself in court again.”

More than £600,000 was paid in fines and costs by more than 4,400 illegal anglers during 2006 for fishing without a rod licence. In addition 40 anglers received cautions from the courts.

In the first month of 2007 more than 500 cases of fishing without a valid rod licence were brought in front of the courts by the Environment Agency, resulting in nearly £70,000 in fines and costs. Cautions were also issued to eight anglers.

Fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish and eels in England and Wales requires a licence from the Environment Agency. Failure to have a licence is an offence. Those caught fishing illegally face tough penalties, including fines of up to £2,500.

The protection of vulnerable fish stocks and increasing fishing participation are among the Environment Agency’s key environmental objectives. The money raised through rod licence sales; some £19m a year, is invested directly in fisheries work that benefits all anglers as well as protecting the environment. 

Buying a new licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them; a direct debit can be set up, and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or from the web site – any time, day or night.