A SOMERSET man's day fishing proved costly.

Alan Reid, 47, of WestfieldRoad, Yeovil, was found to be committing three offences after fisheries officers discovered him fishing illegally.

Swindon Magistrates' Court heard that at Coking Farm fishery, near Henstridge, on December 1 last year, Reid:

fished without a lience;

left his fishing rods unattended;

failed to provide his correct name and address to officers.

Reid, who pleaded guilty to the charges, failed to produce a rod licence when asked and refused to provide his name and address. He was also found not be in control of his rod and line, as they had been left unattended with bait and hook in the water.

He was fined a total of £120 and ordered to pay costs of £135 and a victim surcharge of £34.

Following sentencing, James Allan, Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officer, said: “Money raised from fishing licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries, benefitting anglers and, for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.

"We are able to check offenders’ details, so giving false information is not an easy route out of failing to comply.

"This angler blatantly disregarded signs at the fishery that said an Environment Agency rod licence was needed to fish.

" As part of Operation Clampdown signs had been put at the entrance to the fishery and on each fishing peg.

“Anglers must be in control of their rod and line at all times whilst fishing - it is illegal to leave them unattended with bait or hook in the water.

“Rod fishing bye laws are there to protect fish stocks and their habitats.

"If you do not comply with these bye laws you could face prosecution and be fined up to £50,000.”

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water needs a licence.

A one-day licence costs from just £6 and an annual licence costs from just £30 (concessions available).

Junior licences are free for 13- to 16-year-olds. Licences are available from www.gov.uk/get-a-fishing-licence or by calling the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386 between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by partners including the police 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 can contact the Environment Agency incident hotline 24/7 on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.