News broke today (9th April 2014) of an unnamed Darlington man who got in a bit of trouble after he was caught scooping a Ghost Carp from a Garden Centre and hiding it under his coat. He was stopped by staff and handed over to the police. I’m not sure what a Ghost Carp is, but they’re presumably pretty special as this was was valued at seventy quid. The upshot was, according to the BBC, that the man “was fined £90 and will be required to write a letter of apology“.
The £90 fine seems a bit fishy to us (that’s your last fish pun – there are so, so many others). This is the same as would be paid for a Fixed Penalty Notice for shoplifting, and we guess that this might have been the outcome. This is reinforced by the requirement for a letter of apology. This is not something that would be ordered by a Court that was fining somebody, but could be part of an out of court disposal.
So, just a mild carp from us. The FPN system is certainly an efficient way of dealing with low level crime, and it is a shame that the BBC didn’t make the situation a bit clearer.