Angry angler George Holland has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,855.81 – after becoming abusive when he was caught fishing at a beauty spot without a licence.
A water bailiff approached the 51-year-old after he turned up at Isaak Walton Fishery, near Stone, without a £30 licence.
But the defendant started threatening the Environment Agency (EA) enforcement officer during the incident in August, 2016.
Now Holland, of Coppice Gardens, Stone, has been convicted in his absence of obstructing the enforcement officer, using threatening behaviour, fishing without a rod licence and failing to give his name to the enforcement officer.
EA enforcement officers have the same powers as police officers. They checked more than 63,000 rod licences last year and prosecuted 2,400 anglers.
Following the latest case at North Staffordshire Justice Centre, EA official Andrew Eardley said: “It’s good to see the courts taking threatening behaviour against enforcement officers seriously and that offenders are prosecuted.
“Thankfully cases where an angler is threatening are very rare and 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 a very small minority feel it acceptable to threaten an enforcement officer.”
A rod licence is needed to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England. Money from rod licence sales is invested in England’s fisheries and used to fund a range of projects to improve facilities, including protecting stocks from illegal fishing, pollution and disease as well as restoring fish stocks.
Anglers who fish without a licence can be fined up to £2,500.
To report illegal fishing call the EA’s hotline on 0800 807060 or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.