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Nottingham angler fined for illegal fishing

The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted a Nottingham angler for fishing without a licence and during the close season.

At Northampton magistrates on Friday 4 August 2023, Christopher Towle, 54, of Gainsford Close, Nottingham, was ordered to pay a total of £247.

He pleaded guilty to fishing without a licence on May 1 2023 and also during the close season at Red Mill Marina on the River Soar in Leicestershire.

Towle was fined £40 for each charge, and ordered to pay costs of £135 and a victim’s surcharge fee of £32.

Anglers must have a valid licence and cannot fish on rivers in England and Wales from 15 March to 15 June each year.

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A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said:

“We hope this penalty imposed by the court will act as a deterrent to anyone who is thinking of breaking the laws and byelaws for angling in England.

“The case shows how seriously the courts take these offences and the angler has been rightly punished for the illegal fishing he undertook.

“Fishing illegally can incur a fine and offenders can also have their fishing equipment seized. We inspect rod licences 24/7, seven days a week to check on cases of illegal fishing.”

The Environment Agency enforcement teams continue to make sure anglers comply with regulations to protect fish stock.

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In 2021 to 2022, fisheries enforcement officers checked just over 41,000 fishing licences and successfully prosecuted nearly 730 anglers for fishing without a licence.

You must purchase a fishing licence to fish in England and Wales. Annual licences start from £33 and can be purchased online or by phone, more information can be found here: Buy a rod fishing licence: When you need a licence – GOV.UK (

The Environment Agency’s fisheries’ annual report 2021-22 reveals how nearly £22m in rod licence income – achieved through almost 935,000 fishing licence sales – has been spent during 2021 and 2022 to enhance and protect England’s fisheries.

Anyone with information about illegal fishing activities can contact the Environment Agency incident hotline 24/7 on 0800 807060 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The Charges for Christopher Towle


On the 1st day of May 2023 at Red Hill Marina, River Soar, in a place where fishing is regulated fished for freshwater fish or eels by means of an unlicensed fishing instrument, namely rod and line.

Contrary to Section 27 (1) (a) of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.


On the 1st day of May 2023 at Red Hill Marina, River Soar, fished for freshwater fish in the close season contrary to National Byelaw 2 of the Environment Agency Byelaws made on the 12th July 2010;

and contrary to the National Byelaw 6 confirmed 23rd March 2010 made pursuant to sections 210 and 211 Schedule 25 of the Water Resources Act 1991.


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