A man who illegally poached salmon and sea trout from a Cumbria river internationally renowned for its species has been handed an 84-day sentence suspended for 12 months.
Former gamekeeper Neil Brady, of Thornhill, Egremont, pleaded guilty to illegal fishing activity from the River Ehen, along with possessing unsecured firearms in contravention of licence terms.
Brady was given consecutive suspended sentences of 42-days for fishing offences and 42-days for firearms offences, suspended for 12 months, at West Cumbria Magistrates Court today.
He was ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work in the community and pay a victim surcharge of £80, plus £500 towards the Environment Agency’s costs.
Magistrates ordered the forfeiture and disposal of the vehicle in which Brady was transporting the fish, the poached fish and a number of other items used in the commission of these offences.
Acting on information, Environment Agency and police officers stopped Brady’s car and discovered seven salmon and two sea trout stored in the vehicle.
Environment Agency fisheries officers and Cumbria Police also carried out a search of the defendant’s home that revealed a further two illegally poached fish.
The defendant admitted to illegally taking fish from the River Ehen by using an unlicensed net.
Steve Powell, fisheries specialist from the Environment Agency, said: “Our fisheries legislation exists to help protect the biodiversity and wildlife found within our Cumbrian rivers.
“The poaching of fish threatens the future of species like salmon and sea trout and could undo the work that has been invested in improving our rivers.”