Caistor

Furious angler lashed out after being caught fishing illegally in Lincolnshire

A man who threatened and assaulted an Environment Agency enforcement officer who caught him fishing illegally in Lincolnshire has been fined.

Steve Beckett, 30, of Lorna Road, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, lashed out when he was asked to show his fishing licence.

He also refused to give his address.

Beckett was approached on October 2, 2016, after being spotted using three rods at Caistor Fisheries.

A search of the Environment Agency’s database revealed Beckett had no valid fishing licence, despite him insisting that he did.

He became aggressive when challenged, physically pushing the enforcement officer away, resulting in the police being called.

Beckett pleaded guilty to fishing without a valid licence, assaulting and obstructing a constable, using threatening behaviour, and failing to give his address to an authorised officer when his case was heard at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on June 5.

He was ordered to pay penalties totalling £410.

At the time of the offence, the licence he required would have cost just £54.

Recent changes mean that it would now cost £45, or £30 for concessions.

Joanne Kay, Environment Agency fisheries team leader, said: “Not only was Beckett fishing illegally, he also assaulted a law enforcement officer who was doing his duty to protect the sport, legitimate anglers and the environment.

“It makes no sense to have the embarrassment of a court visit, a criminal conviction and a bill for potentially thousands of pounds when an annual licence is such value for money and so easy to buy.”

To help crack down on unlicensed fishing, the Environment Agency urges people to report illegal activity by calling its incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.