Boston anglers among seven in court for illegal fishing

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Two men from Boston are among those to have been given more than £4,000 of penalties after appearing in court for illegally fishing without a licence across the country.

Dean Pocklington, of Small End, in Boston, and David Freeman, of Dennis Estate, in Boston, appeared at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday along with Lee Bakes of Munster Court, in Grimsby, Wayne Muress, of Weelsby Street, in Grimsby, Gareth Browne, of Wellington Street, in Grimsby and Lyndsey Russell, of Parker Street in Cleethorpes.

All seven were found guilty of fishing for freshwater fish or eels with an unlicensed instrument in a place where fishing is regulated under Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 after they were caught fishing at watercourses including Pigeon Pond, in North Somercoates, Oasis Lakes, in North Somercoates, River Bain, in Horncastle and Westwood Lakes in Wyberton.

They were spotted by Environment Agency bailiffs and PCSOs on regular patrols designed to catch unlicensed anglers in the act – and protect the sport for those who do follow the rules.

The fines totalled £2,900 but with costs and victim surcharges included, the five paid out penalties totalling £4,086.29. A rod licence currently costs from just £27.

Their results are as follows:

l Ashley Ardon, who was proved guilty in absence, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Mr Ardon was caught on July 6, 2016 on the River Bain, Horncastle.

l Dean Pocklington, who pleaded guilty, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Mr Pocklington was caught on Kuly 6, 2016 on the River Bain, Horncastle.

l David Freeman, who pleased guilty, was fined £260 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £30, making the total penalty, £611.47. Mr Freeman was caught on February 13, 2017 at Westwood Lakes, Wyberton.

l Lee Bakes, who was proved guilty in absence, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Mr Bakes was caught on, July 15, 2016 at the Pigeon Pond, North Somercotes.

l Wayne Muress, who was proved guilty in absence, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Mr Muress was caught on July 15, 2016 at the Pigeon Pond, North Somercotes.

l Gareth Browne, who was proved guilty in absence, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Mr Browne was caught on July 15, 2016 at the Pigeon Pond, North Somercotes.

l Lyndsey Russell, who was proved guilty in absence, was fined £440 and ordered to pay costs of £127.47, as well as a victim surcharge of £44, making the total penalty £611.47. Ms Russell was caught on July 4, 2016, at Oasis Lakes, North Somercoates.

Adam Basham, Environment Agency enforcement team leader, said: “Monday was a good day for the near-million anglers that fish legally every year, respecting each other and the sport. There really is no excuse – if you don’t have a licence, pick one up from the Post Office or online before we pick you up.

“It makes no sense to have the embarrassment of a court visit, a criminal conviction and a bill for potentially thousands of pounds when an annual licence is currently just £27. We think these cheats will think twice before picking up a rod illegally again and if they don’t, our officers are ready and waiting.”

In 2015/16, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire enforcement officers checked 3,710 licences and reported 73 for fishing illegally, bringing in fines and costs totalling £16,810.

Last year in England, the Environment Agency checked more than 62,000 rod licences and prosecuted more than 1,900 anglers for rod and line offences, resulting in fines and costs in excess of £500,000.

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.

Any angler aged 12 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A full rod licence costs from just £27 (concessions available) and is available from the Post Office either online or in a local branch, or by phoning 0344 800 5386.

To help crack down on unlicensed fishing, the Environment Agency urges people to report illegal activity by calling its incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.