Anglers hid in bushes after being caught fishing illegally

BBC reports: Three anglers who ran away and hid in bushes after being caught fishing illegally have received fines.

Jack O’Callaghan, 30, Patrick Jones, 35, and Alan Clelland, 56, all of Liverpool, tried to flee from Environment Agency officers.

At North Staffordshire Magistrates’ Court, the trio admitted wilfully obstructing a water bailiff.

The Environment Agency said it would catch “people who flout the law”.

An investigation was launched after the agency heard three men were fishing on the River Trent at Great Haywood, Staffordshire, and in the grounds of the nearby Shugborough Hall on 19 April.

Officers tried to speak to the men but they became aggressive before fleeing and hiding in bushes, an Environment Agency spokesperson said.

The men were then arrested by Staffordshire Police and all three later pleaded guilty to fishing during the close season.

O’Callaghan and Jones admitted fishing without a licence while O’Callaghan also failed to state his name and address to the bailiff.

At Monday’s hearing, O’Callaghan, of Tynwald Place, was fined £480 ($792.15 CAD) while Jones, of Judges Drive, and Clelland, of Snaefell Avenue, were ordered to pay £400 ($660.12 CAD).

The spokesman continued: “An annual fishing licence costs just £30 ($49.51 CAD), yet a small number of anglers continue to risk prosecution for fishing without a licence and breaching bylaws in place to protect fish stocks.”

People caught fishing without a licence can be fined up to £2,500 ($4125.77 CAD).

What do you think about these fines? Are they too much, or not enough? Let us know in the comments below!



2 Replies to “Anglers hid in bushes after being caught fishing illegally”

  1. Pound for pound, (pun intended) the bushwhacking abilities of the Water Bailiff in the U.K., better known in our neck of the woods as Conservation Officers, tend not to be out foxed by wily pranksters hedging their bets. Obviously, for these criminals it was nothing more than a crap shoot.

    I have seen similar behaviour over on this side of the pond, specifically around the the inflow rivers of Lake Ontario. Conservation Officers have fine tuned their Modus Operendi so acutely, they are almost invisible to the naked eye. Hiding in among shrubbery, trees, tall grasses and other vegetation; their green official uniforms blend in with their surroundings. Like a Leopard waiting to pounce on and take down it’s next victim – now you see him, now you don’t!

    Salmon fishermen on Bronte Creek and the Credit River systems are all too familiar with this process of catch, fine and release. Handcuffs and public embarrassment are an all too common occurrence in many cases but rightly deserved.

    As for these British law breakers when it comes to asking, “What do I think about these fines? Are they too much, or not enough?”. Well, for the time being they will no doubt feel a temporary sting of humiliation and a pain in the pocket book, but how much is too much and how little is too little? The conscientious inquiry on the other hand is far more difficult to answer; “Will any fine deter them or other like minded individuals from continuing the illegality once the “heat” is off? I my honest opinion, not likely. At this point it seems to be a matter of “just the cost of doing business” for these blokes.

    One may have too up the ante in any case by increasing punitive repercussions to the point of seizing their fishing equipment (rods and tackle) boats, trailers and impounding cars such as required for other infractions of the law.

    None the less, there will always be someone, somewhere, with the obnoxious mindset that it is perfectly legal to break the law until they get caught. Much like the “legalized lawlessness” aspect we have all observed over the decades.

    Yes, pound for pound you can bet on it ! My money is on the Conservation Officers !

  2. i think it is not enough they should take there rods and tackle . its to bad they do not enforce it here in ontario . all you have to do is go to the bridge in hasting ontario . you can get ones no licence, fishing out of season/ keeping fish that are tiny and out of season . it used to be a nice place to fish not to far from the gta its to bad

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