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Lowestoft fisherman fined

PUBLISHED: 14:08 21 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:22 06 July 2010

A fisherman from the Lowestoft area, caught repeatedly trawling illegally off the South Coast, has been fined £14,000 following what police described as a “unique” operation to stop unlicensed fishing.

A fisherman from the Lowestoft area, caught repeatedly trawling illegally off the South Coast, has been fined £14,000 following what police described as a “unique” operation to stop unlicensed fishing.

David Waldron, 61, of Carlton Colville, near Lowestoft, and Michael Michieli, 49, of St Martin, Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to eight offences of trawling within the three-mile fisheries limit, which was designed to protect the marine environment and vulnerable fish stocks.

The prosecutions were brought by Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee (SSFDC), which is responsible for inshore marine fisheries and environmental protection along the Sussex coast, and is the first organisation of its kind to join forces with a police helicopter unit in a combined air and sea surveillance operation to stop illegal fishing.

The helicopter was deployed on April 25 and May 10 to support the surveillance work of the SSFDC's patrol boat. In both instances the police crew rapidly identified the offending vessels and filmed illegal fishing.

On April 30 the same boats were intercepted and boarded by officers from the fisheries patrol boat and witnessed by another fisherman on May 3.

Since November 2001, Michieli, owner of the trawler L'Ecume II J158, has been prosecuted on five occasions for similar offences, resulting in total fines of £8,500 and costs of more than £4,900.

Over the same period Waldron, owner of the trawler Catherine Annie LT 45, has been prosecuted for six similar offences with fines of £9,000 and costs exceeding £4,400.

The pair appeared for sentencing at Chichester Magistrates' Court in West Sussex yesterday. Michieli was also fined £14,000 and both defendants were ordered to pay costs of £3,000 each.


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