Fishermen who were spotted illegally dredging for cockles in the Wash have been found guilty of the offence after a trial in Lynn.
The men, who all pleaded not guilty, were spotted by a patrol boat from the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority at Roger Sand, off Lynn, on July 20 last year.
The owner of the boat, John Lake, 75, of Spring Lane, Shouldham, faced five charges of owning vessels which took shellfish in contravention of regulations.
He was fined £1,000 for each offence, ordered to pay £2,580 costs and £120 victim surcharge.
Deividas Pusinkas, 30, of Kingcup, Gaywood; Robert Brewster, 56, of Boston; Mark Freestone, 43, of Stone Close, Watlington; Kieron Johnson, 24, of Front Way, North Lynn; and Leigh Lake, 34, of Fir Tree Drive, West Winch, were charged with being the masters of the individual boats.
They were all fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £400 in compensation, £500 in costs and £120 victim surcharge.
An order was made for the cockles to be forfeited under Section 3 (3) of Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 and destroyed.
The trial at Lynn Magistrates’ Court took three days. The men had claimed they were merely carrying out reconnaissance in the area ahead of it being opened up for fishing and that the cockles had been caught elsewhere.