Angler faces £433 in fines and costs for fishing without licence

Lakeside Caravan Park in Denver, Norfolk.

Lakeside Caravan Park in Denver, Norfolk. - Credit: YouTube

An angler from Little Downham was hit with fines and costs totalling £427 after fishing at a holiday caravan park without with a valid licence. 

Paul Smart, 52, of Acred Close, Little Downham, was caught fishing without a licence on August 30, 2021 at Lakeside Caravan Park in Denver, Norfolk. 

The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates Court.  

Smart pleaded guilty to breaching Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. 

Magistrates fined him £333 but on top of that imposed a £34 victim surcharge and £60 in costs. 

 “At a total of £427, this is almost 10 times more than the current price of a £45 fishing licence,” said a spokesperson for the Environment Agency 

Fisheries team leader, Ian Hirst, said: “This case shows we pursue offenders through the courts and won't hesitate to take enforcement action where anglers break rules.  

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“Anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500. 

“All anglers need a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. The money raised through the sales of fishing licences is re-invested and enables us to improve all fisheries, including rivers, for anglers. 

“Our fisheries enforcement officers routinely undertake licence checks, and we urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 807060.” 

Licences now run 365 days from the day of purchase offering 12 full months of fishing. 

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A 1-day licence costs from just £6, and an annual licence costs from just £30.  

Concessions are available. Junior licences are free for 13- to 16-year-olds. 

For more information or to buy a fishing licence visit the Gov.uk website or call the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386. Alternatively, you can purchase a licence from your local Post Office branch. 

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by police forces and the Angling Trust.  

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Smart was sentenced at Folkestone Magistrates Court on February 25. 

(£45 is the cost of a 12-month trout and coarse 3-rod fishing licence).