The Environment Agency was out in force last month making sure that Sussex anglers have valid rod licences.

Officers checked more than 400 anglers who were fishing in February. They reported over 15 who failed to produce a licence.

Fishing without a licence is an offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. Those people caught fishing illegally could face tough penalties, including fines of up to 2,500 and a ban from fishing.

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Michael Turner, Environment Agency Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Team Leader in Sussex, said:

"People who fish without a licence are cheating the system and their fellow anglers. All rod licence money gets ploughed back into our fisheries work and this benefits anglers, fish stocks and the environment as a whole.

"Anglers should take note that we are out checking their licences and are better equipped than ever to find those who are fishing illegally. With access to databases at the switch of a mobile phone, we can verify address and licence details so catching licence evaders is an easier process than ever before. It's just not worth taking a chance."

Buying a licence couldn't be easier '“ there are around 15,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them direct, and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or from our web site '“