Warning for Cambs anglers after man is fined for illegal fishing

A member of the Environment Agency

A member of the Environment Agency - Credit: Archant

Cambridgeshire police and the Environment Agency have issued a warning to fishermen to be careful where they fish after a man was fined for fishing in a nature reserve.

Philip Rule, aged 50, was caught in the act of fishing illegally at a Cambridgeshire nature reserve earlier this year and has been ordered to pay a total of £425 costs, including a fine of £170.

The Environment Agency and Cambridgeshire Police were alerted to the situation in April after bait containers, bonfires and evidence of fishing had been spotted by wardens of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust at Godmanchester Nature Reserve, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Environment Agency Fisheries Enforcement Officers later discovered Mr Rule asleep under a shelter carved deep into a hedgerow near the water’s edge with two baited rods cast into the water.

Godmanchester Nature Reserve, which is protected under various wildlife and countryside orders, includes some large lakes, none of which are allowed to be used for angling or any other water sport.


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Cambridgeshire Magistrates Court was informed by Cambridgeshire Police that Mr Rule was not only fishing illegally, but he also did not have a valid rod licence.

He admitted knowing that he should not have been there but chose to take the chance and fish it regardless.

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He was fined £170, ordered to pay £20 victim surcharge, costs of £85 prosecution costs, a criminal courts charge of £150.

After the hearing, Environment Agency investigator Rob Boothby said: “This is the first time that such an offence has been successfully prosecuted in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire and was brought about by working together with other organisations”.

This will no doubt send a strong signal to not only those anglers who choose not to buy a rod licence, but also to those who may be tempted to fish in areas that are out of bounds. This result is indicative of the punishment they can expect when they are caught,” he said.

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