POLICE have defended fining a fisherman who travelled from Barrow to Windermere after charges of breaching lockdown were dropped.

The Angling Trust said ‘common sense has prevailed’ after prosecutors dropped charges against fisherman Darren Reid.

The 49-year-old angler had insisted he had not broken the law by going on an overnight fishing trip at Far Sawrey on November 7 and was ready to fight his case in court.

The Angling Trust’s head of policy, Martin Salter, said: “Whilst we are delighted that common sense has finally prevailed, this is a case that should never have come anywhere near a court of law.

“During the November lockdown the public were being actively encouraged to participate in healthy and naturally socially distanced outdoor activities such as angling and it is concerning that neither the Cumbria police officers or the local prosecutors had actually read or understood the regulations they were supposed to be enforcing.”

The £200 fixed penalty fine was issued by police two days after the country went into lockdown in November.

At that time the country was recording 500 Covid deaths per day and people were being urged to stay at home.

A Cumbria Police spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, frontline police officers have had to face the challenge of correctly interpreting laws introduced hours before their implementation.

“In this instance, days after the implementation on the new laws, our officers interpreted the law to mean that recreational fishing at night was not within the law. However, any challenges to Fixed Penalty notices are carefully considered by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”

Trust CEO Jamie Cook said: “The Angling Trust guidelines have been circulated to every police force in the country and we have had no challenge, criticism or problems throughout the entire period of the pandemic save for this situation in Cumbria.

"Hopefully, they now understand that angling is a safe and responsible activity that should be encouraged rather than criminalised.”