Many prosecutions as a result of agency's enforcement actions
Almost Â£220,000 in fines and costs were imposed by courts in 2016 following Environment Agency investigations into those flouting waste and fishing laws in the North East.
There were 25 prosecutions of individuals or companies for various waste offences, some of which were in Northumberland, amounting to total fines of £93,390 and costs of £109,683.
There were also three custodial sentences, two suspended sentences, a curfew, community orders and two formal cautions, as well as compensation awarded to a landowner who had to clear waste illegally dumped.
In fisheries enforcement, there were six serious offences resulting in £460 in fines and £600 costs – plus forfeiture of equipment and a crushed vehicle.
And there were a further 54 people prosecuted for 59 rod licence offences in total. The fines for these offences added up to £14,327, with four people also given conditional discharges.
Jamie Fletcher, environment manager at the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “Waste crime can cause serious pollution to the environment, puts communities at risk and undermines legitimate businesses, impacting on investment and economic growth.
“Similarly, those fishing illegally are cheating other anglers and putting the future of the sport and quality of our rivers in jeopardy.
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“We have specialist teams that work hard to target those suspected of being involved in illegal activity and to ensure any necessary action is taken against them.
“There have been some excellent results at court over the past year and communities and anglers can rest assured that this will continue.
“We work closely with a wide range of partners, including local authorities, police and the fire service, and I’d like to thank them for their continued support.”
The agency’s enforcement teams support businesses in abiding by their permit conditions, but take tough action against those who deliberately flout regulations.
And fisheries enforcement officers carry our regular patrols and act on information and intelligence to target illegal activity on the rivers.
The organisation advises people to dial 999 to report an on-going crime and call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to report information about illegal activity.