The police and the Environment Agency have issued a warning after reports of a bogus bailiff issuing on-the-spot-fines to fishermen.
The man concerned allegedly checks fishing licenses, and asks for on-the-spot fines - £20 has been mentioned - when anglers do not produce their licence.
Environment Agency Officers do not ask for payment or on-the-spot fines. A genuine agency bailiff, also known as a Fisheries Enforcement Officer, will not take money on the bank side, or ask for money to be sent to them at a later date.
Lesley Robertson, Environmental Crime Team Leader, said, “Our bailiffs never ask for on-the-spot fines. This is an obvious sign that it is a bogus official. The correct protocol is for a suspected offender to be given an offence report form. If this results in a prosecution, money from the court fine will be used for the benefit of the watercourses.
“It is very rare that somebody would pose as a bailiff and we take this crime very seriously. Anybody who is approached by any official claiming to be from the Environment Agency should ask to see their documentation. All Environment Agency bailiffs will happily show their warrant card on request.”
If approached by a person purporting to be an Environment Agency Bailiff or Fisheries Enforcement Officer, members of the public should ask the person for their name and ask to see their warrant card. All genuine Environment Agency officials will carry a warrant card with them at all times. The photograph on the card should match the individual and the member of the public should if possible make a note of the serial number.
If anyone’s suspicions are raised, they should report their concerns to the Environment Agency 24-hour incident hotline number 0800 80 70 60.