Hero Scuba Diver Fined For Fishing Lobster

It seems that Trevor Bankhead likes his media attention. In 2009 he and his brother recovered a hoard of ecclesiastical gold and silver, including medals, goblets, and crucifixes once owned by the Queen, the pope and other state and church leaders from riverbed below Durham Cathedral.


Then, three years ago in January 2015, be became hero scuba diver and praised for locating the body of missing student Euan Coulthard from the River Wear on Durham. Mr Bankhead found the body of the missing university student within seconds of entering the water after police spent more than a week claiming it was too dangerous to conduct underwater searches. Euan Coulthard, 19, who had been studying law at Durham University, disappeared after leaving a nightclub in the city in the early hours of 14th January 2015.

But in January 2018, it was reported that Mr Bankhead was fined £3,750 at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in December and ordered to pay a total of £1,996 for both offences and prosecution costs of £1,754 as he was caught in Beadnell, Northumberland with a bag of undersized lobsters (which he claimed were for a marine display).

NIFCA chief inshore fishery and conservation officer Al Browne said:

“This case and the sentence passed sends out a clear message and NIFCA, its officers and members remain determined that illegal activity will be prevented. The lobster stocks in Northumberland are of vital importance to our marine environment and this authority appreciates the recognition by the court of the need to protect this vitally important stock. It is vital that everyone who wishes to fish for and take shellfish realises the legal limits.”

Known as a ‘cleeking stick‘, Mr Bankhead was found with the device and a black bag containing 10 undersized lobsters below the permitted carapace length of 87mm.

It is also an offence for anyone to take more than one lobster per day in the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) district without a commercial shellfish permit from NIFCA. Pleading guilty, Mr Bankhead said that he was unaware of the restrictions. He added that he had taken the lobsters because he loves the sea and wanted to create a marine display for his daughter.