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'Celebrity' Brit Angler Fined for Smuggling Live Fish; 'Angling is Not a Game'

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LONDON, England -- A professional angler caught trying to smuggle live fish from Britain to Ireland to use as bait has been fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs.

Nigel Williams admitted trying to smuggle more than 200 live fish including carp, roach and goldfish out of the country without health and export certificates required by law.

Transporting live fish without the correct documents is banned to stop the spread of disease.

Fellow angler Gary Banks was ordered to pay £1,300 (£800 fine and £500 cost) last month after admitting similar offences.

Holyhead Magistrates heard how customs officers and fish health inspectors found two large tanks of fish in the back of Williams and Banks' cars when they were stopped attempting to board a ferry to Ireland at Holyhead in May this year.

The men were detained after an investigation by the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), an executive agency of Defra.

Cefas investigator Steve Maidment said:

"Angling is not a game to be played by a few professionals, it is a sport enjoyed by millions and is acutely vulnerable to the threat of fatal fish diseases. The most important element of the sport is healthy fish - if they die then so does angling.

"We are determined to prevent illegal shipments of live fish out of or into Britain, and we will pursue vigorously anyone breaking the law and risking the health of our indigenous fish stocks."

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