A Hull angler has been fined a total of £750 after he became aggressive towards a fisheries enforcement officer.
Richard Sykes, 39, of Hopewell Road, Hull, was sentenced today at Beverley Magistrates’ Court after being found guilty of a public order offence and admitting a separate charge of leaving his fishing rods unattended.
As well as receiving a fine, Sykes was ordered to pay costs of £730.54 and a victim surcharge of £15 – bringing the total he has to pay to nearly £1,500.
Emma Dann, prosecuting for the Environment Agency, told the court that the offences occurred in August last year at Oakland Waters, Gowdall, near Snaith, where a bailiff found three rods, unattended, with lines in the water.
Leaving fishing rods in this way is an offence under Environment Agency byelaws, because of the risk of fish swallowing the hook and suffering internal damage or death.
When Sykes returned to his rods from a nearby cafe, the bailiff asked to see his rod licence. Sykes at first refused to acknowledge the request, and later became threatening and abusive towards the enforcement officer. The defendant threatened to use physical violence against the bailiff, who feared there was a serious risk he could be attacked.
The defendant pleaded guilty to leaving his equipment unattended but had denied the public order charge. He was found guilty of this latter offence after a trial.
Peter Mischenko, fisheries technical officer at the Environment Agency, said: “Policing of our rivers is vital to stamp out illegal fishing activities which can potentially harm fish stocks and damage the environment. In this case, our enforcement officer faced threatening and abusive behaviour that was totally unacceptable.
“The fine issued by the court demonstrates the seriousness of these offences, and we hope this will send a clear message out to other people who may have been tempted to fish illegally and who threaten our staff.
“Anyone aged 12 or over who wishes to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt and eels in England, Wales or the Border Esk region of Scotland requires a rod licence to fish with a rod and line. If you see any fishing, netting or trapping that you think is illegal, call the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060.”
The charges were as follows:
On the 5th day of August 2012 at Oakland Waters, Snaith, used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour thereby causing that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him. Contrary to Section 4(1)(a) and Section 4(4) of the Public Order Act 1986.
On the 5th day of August 2012 at Oakland Waters, Snaith, left rod and line, with bait or hook, in the water unattended. Contrary to Byelaw 10 of the Environment Agency National Byelaws which came into force on 27 May 2001 made pursuant to Section 210 and Schedule 25 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and Contrary to Section 211 of the said Act.