A Co Antrim angler was today convicted at Laganside Magistrates Court for a number of fishing offences and fined a total of £315, which included a £15 offender levy.
Mr Charles Johnston (46) of Bryan Street, Larne pleaded guilty at Laganside Magistrates' Court to three breaches of legislation and fisheries regulations prescribed under the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966, namely unauthorised entry to a private fishery, failing to provide his name and address and impeding an authorised person.
A forfeiture notice was granted for the disposal of his vehicle and fishing equipment.
On the 12th May 2020, DAERA Fisheries Protection Officers were on routine patrol of DAERA (PAE) Public Angling Estate waters at Lough Mourne, Carrickfergus to ensure Government closure instructions were being adhered to, to reduce the spread of Covid-19, when they observed Mr Johnston angling.
Lough Mourne is part of the Department's PAE and was closed to fishing. On seeing the Fisheries Protection Officers, Mr Johnston placed his fishing equipment in his vehicle and absconded from the area by foot. The decision was then made to seize his vehicle and his fishing equipment contained within. The total fine of £315 consisted of fines ranging from £50, £75 and £175 for each offence along with an offender levy of £15.
DAERA Inland Fisheries enforcement is committed to pursue those who fish illegally. If you are aware or suspect illegal fishing, you should contact DAERA Inland Fisheries on 0300 200 7860 or outside office hours contact 0800 807 060.
Notes to editors:
- Mr Johnston was previously convicted for a Fisheries Offence on the 2nd April 2019.
- An application was also made to the Court that Mr Johnston has his fishing licence forfeited and could not be the holder of a licence for a period of one year.
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