Thursday, December 21, 2006

Williams fined £800 for livebait smuggling

Nigel Williams was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs today after he admitted trying to smuggle livebaits to Ireland on a ferry.

Holyhead magistrates heard Williams, 48, and his friend Gary Banks were stopped by customs officers as they were about to board a car ferry at the North Wales port of Holyhead, in May.

They found 100 roach, carp and goldfish concealed in a large tank in the boot of Williams's car.

Both anglers admitted exporting live fish without the necessary health certificate. Banks was also fined £800 and told to pay £500 costs at an earlier hearing.

Today the court heard transporting live fish without the correct documentation was banned to help prevent the spread of disease.

Steve Maidment, from the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences, said: "Angling is not a game to be played by a few professionals, it is a sport enjoyed by millions and is acutely vulnerable to the threat of fatal fish diseases.

"The most important element of the sport is healthy fish - if they die, then so does angling.

"We are determined to prevent illegal shipments of live fish out of or into Britain, and we will pursue vigorously anyone breaking the law and risking the health of our indigenous fish stocks."

In a letter handed to the court, Williams said he deeply regretted his actions. Both he and Gary Banks resigned from the Pike Anglers Club shortly after the Holyhead incident.