Some 38 people have been caught fishing illegally and will pay more than £12,000 in fines and costs.

Some 38 people from across the North East and Yorkshire have been fined hundreds of times the cost of an annual licence for fishing illegally on separate occasions.

Their cases were brought by the Environment Agency and they have paid fines and costs totalling more than £12,000.

Offences took place across the area including Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Hull, Leeds and Doncaster and mainly relate to fishing during the close season and fishing without a licence.

The Environment Agency carries out enforcement work all year round and is supported by partners including the police and the Angling Trust.

Paul Caygill, a fisheries enforcement officer at the Environment Agency, said:

We hope these penalties send out the message to others that illegal fishing is taken seriously and people flouting the law can expect to face enforcement action.

They could have bought a one-day rod licence to fish for just £6.60 or an annual licence for £33 and avoided both the fine and court process, so this has proven costly for those involved.

The money raised from fishing licence sales is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of anglers. Illegal fisheries undermines our efforts to protect fish stocks and make fishing sustainable into the future.

Any angler aged 13 or over, fishing on a river, canal or still water 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. You can buy a 1-day, 8-day or 12-month licence online, with the added benefit of the option to have a digital licence, saving postage costs and allowing more money to be spent on fisheries.

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