BREAKING the law by not having valid rod licence really can land you with a stiff penalty these days.

Rod licence evasion paid for one man who tried to appeal his offence… and was given a whopping £1,130 penalty.

Matthew Holt, of Hollington Crescent in Birmingham, West Midlands, was caught red-handed at Warwickshire’s day ticket Mineral Lake.

Holt appealed one court finding and then failed to show for the re-trial.

The 26-year-old was then fined £300 and ordered to pay trial costs of £800, plus a £30 victim surcharge, after appealing a previous fine of £220.

Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard how Holt hurriedly bought a rod licence online while an Environment Agency bailiff dealt with another angler on the lake.

The court agreed that Holt was found fishing before he had a licence and believed he would have continued to fish illegally if the bailiff had not arrived.

Don’t join rod licence evasion rogues

EA spokesman Andrew Eardley said “An annual fishing licence costs just £30, yet a small number of anglers continue to flout the law and risk prosecution for fishing without a licence.

“When buying a licence online it takes around 30 minutes to become active. It’s important anglers have a licence before fishing; the money from licences is invested into England’s fisheries and rivers, improving the sport of angling.”

The latest figures collated by the Angling Trust on rod licence prosecutions showed 85 anglers had been fined across the country, with a total of £23,767 at an average of just under £280.

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