A Wiltshire angler’s failed attempt to overturn a Â£50 rod licence fine proved costly after he was ordered to pay a total of Â£800 including a contribution to costs of Â£750 on Friday (13 January). Mr Wyles failed to appear at the appeal hearing.
Mr Wyles, of Moor Green, Neston, Corsham, Wiltshire, was originally convicted in April 2005 and again in October 2005 after he had applied to have the case re-opened by Gloucester Magistrates. He failed to appear on both occasions. Mr Wyles had been charged with fishing without a rod licence at Ashton Keynes Large Lake, in Somerfield Keynes on 31 July 2004.
An Environment Agency fisheries enforcement officer approached Mr Wyles on 31 July 2004 and asked him to produce a valid rod licence. Mr Wyles was unable to do so saying that he had left it at home. Mr Wyles was issued with a fisheries offence report form requiring him to produce a valid rod licence to the Environment Agency within a week, but he still failed to produce one.
During the appeal Mr Palmer QC sitting as a Recorder at Gloucester Crown Court, found the case proved in Mr Wyles’ absence again and refused him permission to appeal. The original fine of Â£50 stood and Mr Wyles was ordered to pay the Environment Agency Â£750 in costs.
The Court acknowledged that Mr Wyles’ conduct from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court had been deliberate in its efforts to abuse the system as much as possible, having failed to appear any of the court hearings, including this appeal.
Fisheries enforcement officer Mick Cox said: “Mr Wyles could have easily saved himself a lot of trouble if he had bought a rod licence before he went fishing.
“Those who fish illegally not only risk being brought before the courts, but anglers also deprive others of valuable revenue as the Â£23.50 cost of each licence is ploughed back into the sport to help protect and improve resources.
“Mr Wyles has only himself to blame and his plan to waste as much of our time and resources as he could has only landed him more costs.”
Fishing without a licence is an offence under Section 27 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 and anyone caught fishing illegally can expect to face tough penalties, including a fine of up to Â£2,500 and a ban from fishing.
Anyone aged 12 years or over who fishes for salmon, trout, freshwater fish or eels in England and Wales must have an Environment Agency Rod Fishing Licence. These are readily available and can be purchased from Post Offices, over the telephone, (0870 1662662) or online www.environment-agency.gov.uk/rodlicence