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Benjamin Cook from Poole fined after posting YouTube video of him catching sea trout with illegal net
5:04pm Tuesday 3rd December 2013 in News
Benjamin Cook thought he might be famous after he made a video showcasing his skills as a poacher.
But his plan backfired after a clip of him catching sea trout on a Dorset river with an illegal net appeared on YouTube and was seen by a sharp-eyed fisheries officer who recognised Cook.
Instead of multiple hits on social media and celebrity status, Cook, 31, was arrested and ordered to pay £475 in fines and costs by magistrates. It is the first time the Environment Agency has used evidence from social media to secure a conviction.
In the You Tube clip entitled ‘Poachin in Poole’, Cook can clearly be seen removing a large sea trout from a fixed monofilament net on the River Sherford near Kings Bridge.. On the bank nearby are two other sea trout.
On the video Cook is heard to say, ‘Basically boys, this is how you poach salmon…. What do I know I’ve only been doing it since I was a boy. We loves our poaching net. It’s in the blood…like a drug addiction. Once you’ve got it you’ve got it for life.’ Cook, who has previous convictions for poaching and obstructing a fisheries officer, was arrested at his home on February 15.
He admitted fishing for salmon and sea trout without a licence and confirmed he’d seen the You Tube video.
Cook denied loading the clip onto You Tube. When asked how he felt about being seen on the social media site he said ‘He didn’t care.’ He added that if the video received enough hits it might be ‘shown on telly’ and he could be ‘famous.’
Appearing before Bournemouth magistrates, Cook, of Patchins Road, Poole was fined £175 and ordered to pay £300 costs after pleading guilty to using an unlicensed net to catch salmon and sea trout on the River Sherford in contravention of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
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