'Magna Carta is no defence' - Man caught fishing illegally on Broads
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
An angler who went fishing illegally in protected waters on the Norfolk Broads has admitted swearing at the officers who caught him red-handed.
Peter Regan, 69, of Borrow Road, Lowestoft, appeared at Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court on November 20 charged with theft of fishing rights and a public order offence after he was found fishing on Horsey Mere without permission from the Horsey Estate.
He had initially pleaded not guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing, but admitted during the trial he used "foul and abusive language" towards the officers who stopped him.
The incident happened on January 2 this year, when Regan was discovered fishing from a boat on the Mere during a joint operation between the Environment Agency and the Broads Beat team.
Regan swore at officers as they questioned him, and admitted to fishing without permission from the estate.
You may also want to watch:
In a statement Norfolk Police said: "This landmark case for the Broads shows that even in tidal waters fishing rights can be private.
"Anglers sometimes refer to the Magna Carta in defence of their actions, but as was demonstrated in court, the Magna Carta was mostly repealed in 1969 by the Statute Law Repeals Act and is therefore no longer a defence for fishing without permission."
- 1 Londoners fined for travelling to stay at second home in Norfolk
- 2 Drivers face non-essential travel fines after spate of snow crashes
- 3 'One of a kind' home with golf simulator and gym is for sale for £795,000
- 4 Drug-dealers caught in undercover police sting
- 5 Norfolk's first mass Covid vaccination centre to open in food court
- 6 Are you in our Norfolk school photos from the 1970s?
- 7 'Too many holiday homes' - Residents object to conversion bid
- 8 £250,000 of cannabis found in two cars on A11
- 9 Covid case rates continue to fall across Norfolk and Waveney
- 10 Photo gallery: Snow turns region into winter wonderland
Regan received a conditional discharge for a year and was ordered to pay £641 in costs.
On that same day in January, another angler was also found to be fishing without permission from a boat on Horsey Mere and following an interview at Aylsham Police Investigation Centre, accepted a formal caution.
PC Paul Bassham from the Broads Beat Team said: "This has been an ongoing problem that effects not only law-abiding anglers but private fishing establishments across the UK.
"Horsey Mere is a nationally important and protected winter wildfowl refuge area, between 1 November to 28 February. Disturbing birds during this period is an offence."
This particular part of the Broads network is known for it's bountiful pike populations in winter, and has long been a source of tension between anglers and the estate's proprietor.
From November to February, boat access on the mere is limited to navigation between the end of Meadow Dyke and Horsey Staithe.
And while anglers can use a small area in the southern part of the mere - they must first acquire an express permit to do so.