North Shields man gets suspended sentence for illegal fishing

Environment
Agency News Release


A North Shields man has received a three
month prison sentence suspended for two years by magistrates after he
was found guilty of  illegally netting fish from the River
Tyne at Hexham.

Thomas Bailey, aged
44 of Clifton Gardens,  North Shields, appeared before Hexham
magistrates court yesterday (July 18) in a case brought by the
Environment Agency.

He denied the offence but
was found guilty and given a three month prison sentence suspended for
two years. He was also ordered to carry out 250 hours of community
service and pay £500 court costs to the Environment Agency. Magistrates
also ordered for the nets, dinghy and fish to be forfeited.

Helen Ferguson, prosecuting for the Environment
Agency, told the court how Environment Agency fisheries enforcement
officers were on duty on the evening of 22nd August 2006 as part of an
authorised surveillance operation. The officers saw Thomas Bailey
setting three illegal nets immediately below the confluence of the
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Bailey was arrested
leaving the scene but claimed in his interview to have been visiting a
girlfriend. However, officers found three illegal nets, a dinghy and 24
fish in nets at the scene which had been set up by Bailey.

Ms Ferguson said this activity was a very professional
and commercial operation.

On sentencing, the
magistrates’ said they found this case so serious that custody was the
most suitable option.

After the court case,
Environment Agency team leader for fisheries enforcement, Kevin
Summerson said:  “The river Tyne has been the best salmon
river in England and Wales for the last nine years and enforcement
plays a very important role in maintaining this.

“This sentence shows that Magistrates have recognised the
environmental damage that illegal netting can have on recovering stocks
of migratory fish. Anglers can be assured we will always take action
against this type of activity.”