Trevor Bankhead of Spennymoor in Co Durham was stopped and searched, but claimed that the 10 crustaceans in his possession were intended for a marine display for his daughter.

He pleaded guilty to two offences at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, according to a report in the Northumberland Gazette, but claimed to have been ignorant of any legal restrictions on lobster catches.

Bankhead was carrying a device used to catch lobsters from under rocks, known as a “cleeking stick”.

The lobsters were not only all below the minimum permitted carapace length of 87mm, but it is also an offence to take more than one lobster a day in the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (NIFCA) district without a permit.

“The lobster stocks in Northumberland are of vital importance to our marine environment,” said NIFCA Chief Inshore Fishery & Conservation Officer Al Browne.

“This authority appreciates the recognition by the court of the need to protect this vitally important stock.”

Bankhead was ordered to pay £1996 for both offences, and prosecution costs of £1754.

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