Sheringham fisherman fined over illegal bait

A 76-year-old Sheringham fisherman has been fined for using illegal bait after he was caught off the North Norfolk coast with crab parts in his pots.

Richard Little is master of Providence 2 in Sheringham, which was boarded by Eastern Sea Fisheries on July 22 last year.

The group can enforce EU and domestic law as well as creating its own bye-laws, and it boarded Little's boat after receiving a tip-off.

Officers found two fishing pots, each containing crab parts.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said at Cromer Magistrates' Court today that it was illegal to use the species called Cancer Pagurus as bait.

'You're not allowed to use edible crab in your pot. It makes it illegal to use that as bait,' he said.

He explained that the bye-law had been introduced in 1996 to protect growing crabs.

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'The prosecution would say that Mr Little is an experience fisherman. He should know the law.'

Richard Little, who pleaded guilty to the charge of using illegal bait, said: 'It was a crab what had been killed by a lobster. They've been doing that for the last 100 years in Sheringham.

'I don't like the law, the law is wrong. I've been going to sea for 60 years.'

Mr Little, who lives in Sheringham, also said that he had a crab like the ones he had used for bait in his pocket, and offered to show the court. The magistrates declined the offer.

Kevin Batch, mitigating, said: 'He fell foul of a bye-law which, I suspect, not many people are aware of.

'This is not a man who's out trawling vast numbers of crabs.'

Chair of the magistrates, Jim Agnew, said: 'We appreciate that you didn't realise you weren't allowed to use crab parts but, of course, that's no defence.'

Little was ordered to pay a fine of �180, as well as a surcharge of �15 and costs of �180.