Environment Agency
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Angler lands £443 fine after fishing illegally in Bedfordshire

An angler has been fined £443 after being caught fishing illegally in Bedfordshire.

Jake Watkins, 29, of Hart Hill Drive, Luton was caught fishing without a licence on 10 August 2023 at Manor Farm Lakes, Biggleswade.

Mr Watkins’ case was heard at Hastings Magistrates Court on 12 January 2024. The court fined him £220 and ordered him to pay an £88 victim surcharge.  He was also ordered to pay £135 in costs. The £443 fine imposed is considerably more than the current price of a £53.70 fishing licence.*

Lesley Robertson, Enforcement Team Leader at the Environment Agency said, “This case shows we take illegal fishing seriously and won’t hesitate to pursue offenders through the courts where anglers break the rules. Anyone found fishing illegally may face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

“All anglers need a valid Environment Agency fishing licence. The current price of an adult 12-month trout and coarse 3-rod fishing licence is £53.70 and not having one proved very costly for Mr Watkins.”

“Our Fisheries Enforcement Officers carry out intelligence-led enforcement work all year round.  We urge anyone with information about illegal fishing to contact us on 0800 807060 or via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Licences now run 365 days from the day of purchase offering 12 full months of fishing.

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence. A 1-day licence costs from just £7.10, and an annual licence costs from just £35.80. Concessions are available. Junior licences are free for 13- to 16-year-olds.

For more information or to buy a fishing licence visit the GOV.UK website or call the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386.

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by police forces and the Angling Trust. Fisheries enforcement work is intelligence-led, targeting known hot-spots and where illegal fishing is reported.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities should report it to our incident hotline number 0800 807060. You can also report it to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Notes to editors

*£53.70 is the cost of a 12-month trout and coarse 3-rod fishing licence.


Watkins entered no plea and was found guilty of breaching Section 27(1)(a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on 12 January 2024.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/angler-lands-443-fine-after-fishing-illegally-in-bedfordshire

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