A PAIR of visitors to Somerset from the West Midlands have been penalised for fishing illegally in Yeovil.

A man from Exhall, Coventry, and a woman from Nuneaton were fined £360 and £255 respectively after pleading guilty to fishing without a license.

A day’s fishing licence would have cost each of them £7.10, instead they received combined penalties of £615.

Their cases were brought by the Environment Agency at Swindon Magistrates Court on Thursday, March 28 2024.

One of the anglers, Mark Varney, 51, from Coventry, was found to be fishing without a licence at Pavyotts Mill Lakes on October 1. 

He was ordered to pay a total penalty of £360, including a fine of £207, costs of £70 and a victim surcharge of £83.  

Magdalena Maslak, 48, from Nuneaton, was also fishing without a licence at the same location on the same day.  She was ordered to pay a total penalty of £255, including a fine of £132, £70 costs, and a victim surcharge of £38.

Following the verdicts, a spokesperson for the Environment Agency, said:  “We hope the penalties that these illegal anglers have received will act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of breaking the laws and byelaws we have in place across England.

“Fishing illegally can incur a fine of up to £2,500 and offenders can also have their fishing equipment seized.

"We inspect rod licences 24/7, seven days a week to check on cases of illegal fishing and for those caught cheating the system, we will always prosecute.

“Illegal fishing undermines the Environment Agency’s efforts to protect fish stocks and make fishing sustainable. 

"Money raised from fishing licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of legal anglers.”