An angler, caught napping as he fished illegally at Godmanchester Nature Reserve, has been fined by magistrates.
Philip Rule, 50, from Liskeard, in Cornwall, was ordered to pay a total of £425 costs, including a fine of £170, by Cambridge Magistrates’ Court after admitting fishing without permission and not holding a valid rod licence.
Bait containers, bonfires and evidence of fishing had previously been spotted by wardens of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust at Godmanchester Nature Reserve, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
And, on April 26, Environment Agency enforcement officers discovered angler Rule asleep under a shelter carved deep into a hedgerow near the water’s edge.
He had two baited rods cast into the water, set up with bite alarms, commonly used by specimen anglers across the UK.
The 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.
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.”