Shropshire Star

Unlicensed angler who gave false name to enforcement officer ordered to pay £1,455

A man who gave a false name to a fisheries enforcement officer in a bid to escape prosecution has been ordered to pay a total of £1,455.

Robert Simpson gave a false name after being caught fishing without a licence and failed to attend court on three separate occasions

In May 2022, a Natural Resources Wales enforcement officer was undertaking a routine patrol at Llyn Clywedog Reservoir near Llanidloes, when he spotted Robert Simpson, of Aberbargoed, Caerphilly, fishing from a boat.

When Mr Simpson returned to shore, he was asked to produce his rod licence. He replied that he had left his licence at home and told the officer his name was Stephen Fisher.

The officer conducted a rod licence check and found there was no valid licence in the name of Stephen Fisher at the address supplied by Mr Simpson.

Once the officer explained that he could seize the fishing equipment and arrest Mr Simpson if he did not give his correct details, he provided his correct name and address.

Under caution Mr Simpson admitted to using a friend’s details for licence checks.

Having subsequently failed to attend court on three occasions, Mr Simpson was arrested on January 11 this year by PC Mark Powell, a police officer seconded to Natural Resources Wales, and taken to Newport Magistrates’ Court.

At court, Mr Simpson pleaded guilty to fishing without a valid rod licence and providing false information to an enforcement officer.

He was fined £425 for providing false information, £100 for having no licence, ordered to pay costs of £877.50 and a victim surcharge of £52.50.

Jeremy Goddard, team leader for Natural Resources Wales’s Mid Wales Waste and Enforcement Team said: “You must have a rod fishing licence for England and Wales if you’re fishing for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel with a rod and line.

“You could be fined up to £2,500 and your fishing equipment could be seized if you’re fishing and cannot show a valid rod fishing licence.

“Children under 13 do not need a licence and licences for children between 13 and 16 are free. However, you still need to get a junior licence.”

Rod licences can be purchased online on the Natural Resources Wales website. Anyone who sees or suspects illegal fishing activity can report it to the NRW 24 hour incident hotline on 03000 65 3000 or on the NRW website.