Angler George Holland of Coppice Gardens, Stone has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,855.81, after a successful prosecution by the Environment Agency for a variety of offences that took place at Izzak Walton Fishery in Chebsey.
Mr Holland was fined £660 for threatening behaviour at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, , and ordered to pay costs of £1,129.81 and a victim surcharge of £66.
Mr Holland was originally called to court on the 24 April 2017 and was proved guilty in absence for four offences. However the case was reopened under a statutory declaration application from the defendant where he proceeded to enter a not guilty plea.
Mr Holland faced charges of wilfully obstructing a Constable in the execution of his duty, fishing without a rod licence, failing to state his name when addressed by an Environment Agency enforcement officer and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour causing that person to believe that imminent violence will be used against him.
Magistrates heard the case and again found Mr Holland guilty of all charges and issued a fine of £660 for threatening behaviour, and, while found guilty did not receive a further penalty for the additional charges. Mr Holland did not attend court on the 29 September, so was again proved guilty in absence.
The offences took place on the 23 August 2016 at Isaak Walton Fishery, Chebsey.
Andrew Eardley of the Environment Agency said: “It’s good to see the courts taking instances of threatening behaviour against enforcement officers seriously and that offenders are prosecuted. Thankfully cases where an angler is threatening are very rare; most anglers found without a licence, while not happy, admit they have been caught out.
“The majority of anglers fish legally and purchase a rod licence. With an annual licence costing £30 it seems ridiculous that anglers risk a significant fine, and the very small minority feel it acceptable to threaten an enforcement officer.”
Money from rod licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries and is used to fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including protecting stocks from illegal fishing, pollution and disease; restoring fish stocks through re-stocking; eradicating invasive species; and fish habitat improvements. Rod licence money is also used to fund the Angling Trust to provide information about fishing and to encourage participation in the sport.
You need a valid Environment Agency Rod Licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England. Buying a rod licence is easy: simply visit .gov.uk and search buy a rod licence.
Anyone witnessing illegal fishing incidents in progress can report it directly to the Environment Agency hotline, 0800 80 70 60. Information on illegal fishing and environmental crime can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Mr George Holland (14/01/1966), of Coppice Gardens, Stone was summoned to account for the following charges:
• On the 23 August 2016 at Isaak Walton Fishery, Chebsey (pictured), willfully obstructed a Constable in the execution of his duty. Contrary to Section 89(2) of the Police Act 1996.
• On the 23 August 2016 at Isaak Walton Fishery, Chebsey, used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour causing that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him. Contrary to section 4(1)(a) and section 4(4) of the Public Order Act 1986.
• On the 23 August 2016 at Isaak Walton Fishery, Chebsey, in a place where fishing is regulated fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicenced fishing instrument, namely a rod and line. Contrary to section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
• On the 23 August 2016 at Isaak Walton Fishery, Chebsey, failed to state his name and address to a water bailiff or constable having power to makes such a request, contrary to section 35(3) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
The original hearing occurred on the 24 April 2017 and Mr Holland was proved in absence. The original fine was £660, victim surcharge of £66 and costs of £172.
The re-opened case was scheduled for a hearing on the 12 September 2017 and two Environment Agency enforcement officers, our prosecuting agent and the defendant Mr Holland were all present. However an earlier case overran and this case was adjorned until the 29 September.
Two Environment Agency enforcement officers and our prosecuting agent attended on the 29 September. The defendant, Mr Holland did not appear in court on the 29 September.