GOTCHA! LI­CENCE CHEATS PAY £500,000

Crack­down on il­le­gal fish­ing shows en­force­ment teams are on the case

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME - IAN JONES

THE EN­VI­RON­MENT Agency has re­vealed that more than £500,000 worth of fines were is­sued to rod li­cence cheats dur­ing 2015 and 2016 – the most suc­cess­ful crack­down on il­le­gal fish­ing ever.

En­force­ment has been given a huge boost this year with the na­tional roll-out of the Vol­un­tary Bailiff Ser­vice. Ad­di­tion­ally, count­less po­lice forces have pledged their sup­port to bat­tling an­gling crime.

More than 62,000 li­cences were checked in the last two years, re­sult­ing in 1,987 pros­e­cu­tion cases be­ing filed for those caught with­out one.

Dilip Sarkar, the An­gling Trust’s Na­tional En­force­ment Man­ager, said: “The team ef­fort by the EA, po­lice, fish­ery own­ers and an­glers from all over the coun­try has been im­mensely ef­fec­tive.

“We have been able to em­power an­glers via the Vol­un­tary Bailiff Ser­vice, train the po­lice and courts, ad­dress the mi­grant an­gler is­sue and ini­ti­ate mul­ti­a­gency op­er­a­tions which have in­creased in­tel­li­gence and sup­port avail­able to the EA.

“As a re­sult, an­gling has never been in a stronger po­si­tion to pro­tect fish and fish­eries and crack down on li­cence cheats.”

Among the most ef­fec­tive forces on the ground in 2015 and 2016 were the En­vi­ron­ment Agency pa­trol teams, de­ployed weekly to check that an­glers are obey­ing the law.

An­gling Times was in­vited to join an en­force­ment pa­trol day at Bed­ford­shire’s Manor Farm Fish­eries to wit­ness what

hap­pens dur­ing a rou­tine sweep of a fish­ery.

Of the 30-plus an­glers checked on the day, all had valid rod li­cences – although EA Fish­eries and Bio­di­ver­sity Team Leader Kye Jer­rom warns that it’s not al­ways plain sail­ing.

He said: “To­day’s re­sult came back 100 per cent pos­i­tive but this isn’t al­ways the case. Some days we’ll is­sue fines into dou­ble fig­ures, so it’s im­por­tant we con­duct pa­trols like this.

“How­ever, our job isn’t all about tak­ing peo­ple to court – it’s about se­cur­ing as much money as pos­si­ble for fish­eries by en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to buy li­cences, work­ing closely with fish­eries and part­ners to spread the word. We’re now reap­ing the re­wards for our ef­forts.”

Sarah Chare, Head of Fish­eries at the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, was equally pos­i­tive about the new face of en­force­ment.

“Through work­ing with our part­ners and tak­ing an in­tel­li­gence-led ap­proach we are clamping down hard on those who are cheat­ing the sport.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of an­glers who fish legally de­serve to see those who flout the law brought to ac­count.

“To that crim­i­nal mi­nor­ity, our mes­sage is clear – we won’t hes­i­tate to take ac­tion to stop il­le­gal fish­ing.”

No li­cence? You risk a heavy fine for your mis­deeds. EA en­force­ment pa­trol ready to go to work.

Manor Farm – no li­cence cheats here!

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