A MAN from Chard was fined over £220 and was ordered to pay costs after being found guilty of fishing without a licence at Chard Reservoir.

Harry Burston, 30, of Hazelmere, Otterford, Chard, was found guilty in his absence of fishing without a licence at the Chard Reservoir.

He was fined £220 and ordered to pay £135 in costs and a £88 victim surcharge fee.

11 men were sentenced at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on January 8, 2024, for illegal fishing practices.

In total, they were ordered to pay £4,135.

James Allan, an 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.

“These anglers disregarded signs at the fisheries that said an Environment Agency rod licence was needed to fish.

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

“Those who do not comply with these bylaws, could face prosecution and be fined up to £2,500.

“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 - 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.