Skint Sunderland fishermen landed undersized lobsters

Lobster pots.

Lobster pots.

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A HARD-UP fisherman and another man were caught trying to transport hundreds of undersized lobsters that they intended to sell, a court heard.

Kevin Conlin, 53, and Edward Potts, 37, had been at Sunderland Fish Quay when they were spotted by on-duty officers loading their vehicle with 188 lobsters.

The lobsters, which the men intended to supply for money, fell short of the required length of 87cm needed for landing and transportation.

Lorraine Mustard, prosecuting on behalf of North Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, said: “The officers saw them carrying two boxes of 188 lobsters on to their vehicle. When they were spotted, they threw the boxes in the quay and drove off.

“The lobsters were contained in two boxes and 186 were still alive.

“Neither man has any previous conviction for these type of offences.”

At Newcastle Crown Court Conlin, of Wraith Terrace, Ryhope, and Potts, of Ernwill Avenue, Castletown, pleaded guilty to storing and transporting lobsters below the minimum landing size in relation to the incident, which happened on July 26.

Lee Fish, defending Conlin, said: “He intended to sell the lobsters to make ends meet. He has a partner and three young children.

“He has been a fisherman for three years and can sometimes only make £20 a week.

“He has an unhappy financial situation, but does have the capacity to earn money.”

The Recorder of Newcastle James Goss adjourned sentencing to December 7, where he suggested a penalty fine would be the likely outcome.

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