A professional angler once dubbed “The Rodfather” has been fined after illegally catching a prize carp from a protected lake.
Myles Gibson caught the 51lb (23kg) fish at Tatton Park Mere in Cheshire before putting it back into the water.
But a court heard he had no licence to fish at the National Trust site and was caught after a photograph was published in the Angling Times.
Gibson was found guilty of illegal fishing and fined £240.
The angler, from Middlewich, Cheshire, was also ordered to pay £620 in court costs after a trial at Macclesfield Magistrates Court.
‘Climbed over fences’
The 30-year-old fish, named Jim’s Carp, was referred to as “the big one” during the hearing and was caught on private land, which is also a site of special scientific interest.
Fishing is allowed in the mere only at certain times and only after the purchase of a £6 licence, the court heard.
Gibson went to the area in the early hours and climbed over farmers’ fences before negotiating a large hedge to reach the water.
Concerns were raised after an officer from the Environment Agency spotted the photograph and contacted rangers at Tatton Park.
A police campaign targeting illegal fishing at the park was already under way, and Gibson was charged after attending a police interview voluntarily.