A STOURPORT man has been fined after he was caught illegally fishing in pools across the Midlands.

Scott Dalton, of Redstone Lane, was one of 11 anglers that went before Northampton Magistrates’ Court after they were found fishing without a rod licence by Environment Agency officers.

None of the accused appeared in court for the hearing on December 21 and were found guilty in their absence.

Dalton, who is aged 22, was caught at Top Barns Pools in Worcester on July 23 last year.

He was fined £440 – 14 times more than it would cost to buy a £30 rod licence – and ordered to pay £127 and a victim surcharge of £44.

Andrew Eardley of the Environment Agency said “We’re continuing to see anglers receive significant fines for fishing illegally which is why I can’t understand the reasons some anglers continue to flout the law and risk prosecution for fishing without a licence.

“A licence costs just £30 and now lasts for twelve months from the day you buy it. Fishing licence money is invested into England’s fisheries and rivers; improving the sport of angling.

“Most anglers fish legally and are happy to have their licence checked, the minority that fail to buy a fishing licence are cheating their fellow anglers and the future of the sport.

“Fishing licence cheats risk a criminal conviction, a significant fine and could lose their fishing equipment.

“With most anglers fishing legally it seems ridiculous the minority still risk a significant fine like these we’ve seen here.”

Children under 12 fish for free. Anyone aged 12 to 16 also fish for free, but do need to have a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. Anyone over 16 must pay for an Environment Agency fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.

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.