A foolish poacher who made a boastful video of his crime which appeared on the internet has been brought to justice after a fisheries officer saw the footage.
The shocking clip entitled ‘Poachin in Poole’ shows 31-year-old Benjamin Cook, from Poole, Dorset, using a barbaric monofilament net to remove sea trout from his local River Sherford. In the film he brags, ‘Basically boys this is how you poach…it’s in the blood like a drug addiction and once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life ’.
But the clip, that was uploaded to the popular video sharing website YouTube, has led to Cook’s downfall after an Environment Agency enforcement officer viewed the footage and recognised the bungling criminal, who has previous convictions for poaching and obstructing a fisheries officer.
Cook was arrested at his home on February 15, 2013 and taken to Bournemouth police station where he admitted fishing for salmon and sea trout without a licence and confirmed he’d seen the video.
He denied uploading the video to the site, but when asked about his feelings on being seen on the internet he said ‘he didn’t care’, and added that if the video received enough hits it might be ‘shown on the telly’ and he could become ‘famous’.
It’s the first time the EA has used social media to secure a conviction and officials have warned that any form of poaching will not be tolerated.
“This is perfect proof that we will come down very hard on anyone fishing illegally and would urge anglers or members of the general public to report any suspected incidents of poaching,” said an EA spokesperson.
Cook appeared before Bournemouth Magistrates on December 2, 2013 was fined £175 and ordered to pay £300 costs after pleading guilty to using an unlicenced net to catch salmon and sea trout on the River Sherford in contravention of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975.
To view the video use the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVvzj5A0P6E