A MAN must pay out more than £1,500 for illegal fishing at Tewkesbury.

Wojciech Zabinski of Birmingham was found guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court of fisheries offences.

They included fishing for freshwater fish without a valid rod licence, leaving a rod and line with the bait or hook in the water unattended and giving a false name on the River Severn at Ripple, Tewkesbury.

The defendant was given a 12 month Conditional Discharge, ordered to pay £1,500 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The court heard that on 12 October 2014, Environment Agency enforcement officers were patrolling the River Severn as part of Operation Stone, a programme to reduce illegal fishing, fish removal and theft on the rivers Seven and Avon. Mr Zabinski had been seen by an Environment Agency officer fishing and leaving his rod and line with the bait or hook in the water unattended earlier in the day.

Mr Zabinski was approached by an officer as he was leaving the area for the above offences. Mr Zabinski provided his brother’s name and address as his own and gave the officer his brother’s rod licence.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency Enforcement Officer in charge of the investigation, said:

Anyone who chooses to fish in England needs their own rod licence. The money raised by the sale of rod licences helps us to carry out vital work to help maintain, develop and protect fisheries. This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to prosecute individuals when they do not abide by the law.

Illegal fishing can be reported to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. You can also report illegal fishing and any other information on environmental crime anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.