FOUR Welshmen caught poaching in a Wiltshire river have been fined and had their fishing gear confiscated.

Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard Shane Lee, Tyrone Lee, Gary Price and Henry Price were caught by police near the River Kennet on July 8, 2020.

The officers had been called out by the river keeper on the Eastridge Estate between Chilton Foliat and Ramsbury.

Prosecutor Ben Worthington said: “He reports seeing a vehicle which he believes might have been involved in what he refers to as poaching.

“Officers found the defendants have been doing some fishing in the river and where they were fishing is private. They didn’t have permission.”

The men had 10 fish. “A relatively successful trip for the defendants but unfortunately the police were there so they’ve been prosecuted,” Mr Worthington said.

The prosecutor noted the men had kept their silence during interview. Had they admitted taking the fish they may have been given an on-the-spot fine by police.

Shane Lee, 26, Tyrone Lee, 22, Gary Price, 22, and Henry Price, 30, all of Rumney, Cardiff, pleaded guilty to unlawfully taking a fish – an offence under the Theft Act.

All the men told the court they were not working and on benefits. None were represented by a solicitor.

Magistrates fined each man £120, ordering £50 compensation from each and £59 in costs and surcharge. Chairman of the bench Gail Chilcot said: “If you’d been honest up front you might have got a fixed penalty and you wouldn’t be here today, but that’s a lesson for the future.”