A day’s fishing has landed an angler with a penalty of nearly £2,500, thought to be one of the largest ever handed out for such a matter.
Greg Henshaw, 35, has been fined £2,416 after being caught by an Environment Agency bailiff for multiple fishing offences, including obstructing a fishery bailiff and using an illegal bait at Ripple on the River Severn near Tewkesbury.
Henshaw was found guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court of five offences – using an unlicensed rod and line, failing to state his name and address when asked by a water bailiff, fishing for fresh water in the closed season, willfully obstructing an officer on duty and illegally using hook and bait during the prohibited close season.
Henshaw, of Wychwood Crescent in Birmingham, did not appear in court. In his absence, magistrates found him guilty of all charges. For each of them he was given a fine of £440, totalling £2,200, and also ordered to pay £172.61 and a victim surcharge of £44.
Andrew Eardley, of the Environment Agency, said: “This penalty for one angler is amongst the highest I’ve ever seen, and it’s good to see that the courts take instances of obstruction against enforcement officers seriously and that offenders are prosecuted.
“An annual fishing licence costs just £30, yet a small number of anglers continue to flout the law and risk prosecution for fishing without a licence. Fishing licence money is invested into England’s fisheries and rivers, improving the sport of angling. So it’s fellow anglers that being cheated by those who choose to fish without a licence.”
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.