ANGLERS are being warned they face prosecution if caught fishing illegally in the county.
Nine anglers recently faced £6,200 in fines between them for fishing without a rod licence.
The highest fine of £942 was more than 30 times higher than the £30 cost of an annual licence.
The anglers – one from Leek – were taken to court for breaching the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries 1975 Act.
Children aged under 12 can fish for free, as can those aged 12 to 16, but the latter need to have a valid Environment Agency fishing licence.
Anyone over 16 must purchase an Environment Agency fishing licence to fish for salmon, trout, freshwater fish, smelt or eel in England.
A fishing licence can be purchased at a post office or online.
For more information contact the Environment Agency on 0344 800 5386, between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.