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East Midlands fishermen from Newark, Nottingham and Derby have been fined almost £1,800 for illegal fishing in cases brought to Northampton Crown Court by the Environment Agency

East Midlands fishermen from Newark, Nottingham and Derby have been fined almost £1,800 for illegal fishing in cases brought to Northampton Crown Court by the Environment Agency

Multiple fishing offences have cost five fishermen almost £1,800 after the Environment Agency took their cases to court.

Three men from Newark, as well as a man from Nottingham and a man from Derby were found guilty of illegal fishing at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on June 3.

In total, the five men were given total fines of £1,796 for offences including fishing without a licence, leaving a rod and line unattended in the water and fishing with multiple rods and lines at a distance of more than three metres.

The River Trent in Notts. Photo: Neil France

Robert Ghitulescu, 42, of Lime Grove, Newark, was found guilty in absentia of leaving his rod and line unattended in the water on November 12, 2023 at Nether Lock, River Trent, Newark. He was given a total fine of £443, including a £220 fine, £135 costs and an £88 victim surcharge.

Ivan Ivanov, 42, of Friar Road, Newark, pleaded guilty to fishing with multiple rods and lines at a distance of more than three metres at Nether Lock, River Trent, Newark, on November 12, 2023. He was given a total fine of £275, including a £100 fine, £135 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.

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Sorin Sulea, 49, of Hazel Grove, Newark, Nottinghamshire pleaded guilty to fishing with multiple rods and lines at a distance of more than three metres and leaving his rod and line unattended in the water on November 12, 2023 in Newark – River Trent. He was given a total fine of £296 for both offences, including a £115 fine, £135 costs and a £46 victim surcharge.

Jack Shepherd, 27, of Albany Court, Stapleford, Nottingham, was found guilty of fishing without a licence in the River Trent, Sawley, Hemington on November 28, 2023. He was given a total fine of £443, including a fine of £220, costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £88.

Mitchell Baines, 27, of Basildon Close, Alvaston, Derby pleaded guilty to fishing without a licence on November 18, 2023 at Butterley Reservoir, Ripley. He was given a total fine of £339, including a £146 fine, £135 costs and a £58 victim surcharge.

Richard Pitman, leader of the Environment Agency’s fisheries enforcement team, said: “These cases show how seriously the courts take illegal fishing and we hope the penalties these illegal fishers have received will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking of breaking the laws and regulations that are in place across England.

“We inspect fishing licenses 24/7 to check for illegal fishing and for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.

“Anyone found fishing illegally could face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500. Offenders could also have their fishing equipment seized.

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“Illegal fishing undermines the Environment Agency’s efforts to protect fish stocks and make fishing sustainable.

“Money raised from the sale of fishing licenses is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of legal fishermen.

“Our fisheries enforcement officers, supported by partners such as the police and the Angling Trust, carry out intelligence-led enforcement work throughout the year, targeting known hotspots and where illegal fishing is reported.

“We urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 807060 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Any angler 13 or older who fishes in rivers, canals or still waters needs a license.

Licences are available at www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

A 1-day licence costs just £7.10 and an annual licence costs just £35.80. Concessions are available. Junior licences are free for 13-16 year olds.