Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) successfully prosecuted a 45 year-old man for obstruction of a fisheries officer, when he refused to allow his vessel to be boarded earlier this year.

David Quinn, of George Street, Plymouth, did not attend the hearing at Truro Magistrates' Court on June 19 and the case was heard in his absence.

On finding him guilty, magistrates handed out fines and costs totalling almost £5,000.

Quinn was seen by officers aboard his boat on February 13, south west of Plymouth breakwater during a routine patrol at sea.

An officer introduced himself and requested to come on board.

Quinn refused to allow the boarding to take place and manoeuvred his vessel to prevent the officer from stepping aboard before motoring off at high speed towards the Plymouth breakwater.

Having circled the breakwater, Quinn stopped and officers approached again at which point a boarding was again refused.

Quinn refused to listen to what the officer was telling him with regards to his powers, used abusive language and displayed aggressive behaviour. This was recorded on the officer’s body worn video camera. He again drove off at speed and officers decided not to pursue him.

Cornwall IFCA Officers are warranted and have the powers to board and inspect any vessels to ensure compliance with fisheries legislation.

Cornwall IFCA Principal Enforcement Officer Simon Cadman said: “It is clearly a very serious matter where an officer is prevented from carrying out inspections work to check compliance with fisheries legislation. I am pleased the court has recognised Mr Quinn’s deliberate undermining of the regulatory regime and has reflected that in the sentence handed down to him”.

Quinn was found guilty of intentionally obstructing a Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Officer in the performance of the officer’s functions, contrary to the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

He was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay £110 victim surcharge and costs of £3,753.89.