Our enforcement squad patrolling Norfolk apprehended 3 illegal fishermen

On November 23, 2021, Gordon West of Benfleet, Essex, was caught fishing without a permit in Martham Pits, Norfolk. On May 1, 2022, John Ellingham of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was caught fishing on the River Bure close to Wroxham, Norfolk, during the off-season.


On April 5, 2022, in the Coston Carp Lakes in Coston, Norfolk, Sam Reynolds, of Bacton, Norfolk, was found to be fishing without a licence and having left two rods unattended.


At the Hastings Magistrates Court, all three cases were heard. The judge penalised West and Reynolds £220 each, with £197 in costs and a victim surcharge of £34 each. Ellingham was hit with a $138 fine, a £34 victim surcharge, and £65 in court costs.


The sum of the three penalties is £992, which is 22 times the current cost of a fishing licence, which is £45.

Lesley Robertson, the head of the enforcement team, said:

These cases show we pursue offenders through the courts and won’t hesitate to take enforcement action where anglers break rules. Anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

The close season is in place to allow an uninterrupted spawning period and helps to protect vulnerable species. It also provides an opportunity for the Environment Agency and partners to carry out projects up and down the country to further enhance habitats vital for improving fish spawning.

All anglers need a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. The money raised through the sales of fishing licences is re-invested and enables us to improve all fisheries, including rivers, for anglers.

Our fisheries enforcement officers routinely undertake licence checks, and we urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 807060.

Today’s licences provide 12 complete months of fishing and are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.

Anyone above the age of 13 who wants to fish in a river, canal, or still body of water must have a licence. An annual licence starts at only £30 and a 1-day licence is just £6.


There are concessions available. 13 to 16-year-olds are eligible for free junior licences.


Visit the GOV.UK website for additional details or to get a fishing licence, or contact the Environment Agency at 0344 800 5386. A licence may also be purchased at your neighbourhood Post Office.

All year long, the Environment Agency enforces laws with the assistance of police departments and the Angling Trust.


The enforcement of fishing laws is intelligence-driven and focuses on well-known hotspots and areas where unlawful fishing is recorded.


The incident hotline number is 0800 807060, and anybody with knowledge regarding illegal fishing activity can call in to report it. You may also call Crimestoppers anonymously at 0800 555 111 to report it.


A 12-month trout and coarse 3-rod fishing licence costs £45.


Sam Reynolds and Gordon West admitted their guilt of violating Section 27(1)(a) of the 1975 Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act.

Sam Reynolds entered a plea of guilty to violating Section 211 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and Byelaw 10 of the Environment Agency National Byelaws, both of which entered into effect on May 27, 2001.


John Ellingham entered a guilty plea to violating National Byelaw 2 of the Environment Agency Byelaws, which were made on July 12, 2010, and National Byelaw 6, which was confirmed on March 23, 2010, both of which were made in accordance with sections 210 and 211 of the Water Resource Act 1991, schedule 25, respectively.

On July 29, 2022, in Hastings Magistrates’ Court, they received sentences.

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