Seven Lincolnshire anglers have been handed fines totalling more than £4,000 for fishing without a licence.
Lee Bakes of Munster Court, Grimsby, Wayne Muress of Weelsby Street, Grimsby, Gareth Browne of Wellington Street, Grimsby, Lyndsey Russell of Parker Street, Cleethorpes, Ashley Ardon of Steve Newton Avenue, Horncastle, Dean Pocklington of Small End, Boston, and David Freeman of Dennis Estate, Boston, were all fined after being caught.
Environment Agency bailiffs and PCSOs spotted the anglers at Pigeon Pond and Oasis Lakes in North Somercotes, the River Bain in Horncastle and Westwood Lakes in Wyberton.
The seven offenders were fined £2,900 at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 13.
However, with costs and victim surcharges included, the penalties ended up totalling £4,086.29.
A rod licence currently costs from just £27.
Adam Basham, Environment Agency enforcement team leader, said: “Monday was a good day for the near-million anglers that fish legally every year, respecting each other and the sport.
“There really is no excuse – if you don’t have a licence, pick one up from the Post Office or online before we pick you up.
“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 currently just £27.
“We think these cheats will think twice before picking up a rod illegally again and if they don’t, our officers are ready and waiting.”
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.