Two men from Frizington, Cumbria were fined Â£200 each, plus a further Â£200 costs at Whitehaven Magistrates' Court on Thursday 15 February 2007, for salmon poaching in the River Ehen on 26 September 2006.
Christopher Hall pleaded guilty to taking the salmon and Colin Graffin pleaded guilty to handling the salmon in suspicious circumstances. Upon sentencing the magistrates stated that the court takes a very dim view of the offences.
Investigating Officer Mike Farrell said: "This prosecution shows that the Environment Agency will not tolerate any illegal fishing activity in the North West's waterways, particularly migratory fish like salmon. Poaching is widespread on the River Ehen and we are patrolling this area to act as a deterrent and to catch offenders."
Environment Agency officers caught the two defendants during a routine inspection on the River Ehen. The officers observed three men, including Christopher Hall and Colin Graffin, for over two hours while they attempted to catch salmon near the Heskett Wood area.
Colin Graffin remained on the riverbank while Christopher Hall tried to catch a fish by standing in a deep pool and repeatedly diving into the water wearing a diving mask.
When approached by the Environment Agency officers and two police officers, the three men attempted to run away. Colin Graffin dropped a bag that was searched and found to contain a 4lb female salmon. Both Colin Graffin and Christopher Hall were caught, cautioned and arrested at the scene.
Mike Farrell continued: "The Environment Agency estimates that the poaching of this salmon has resulted in the loss of 3000-4000 ova to the River Ehen system, a great loss to Cumbria's river system and legal anglers."
Environment Agency officers interviewed both men on the day of the arrest at Workingham Police Station. Christopher Hall said that he had been in the water only to look for his watch. Colin Graffin admitted finding the fish but denied any knowledge of the fact that it had been taken from the water unlawfully.