Doing a good deed for a fellow fisherman when his boat sank along with thousands of pounds of equipment led to the pair appearing in court.

David Norman Sneade, of Maes Morfa, Newport, and Kevin John Hancock, of Rhyd y Felin, Cardigan, appeared at Haverfordwest magistrates court for the conclusion of their trial on Monday, January 20.

Snead, 60, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a direction given by a Marine Enforcement officer when told to return a catch to sea, and to catching three undersized crabs.

He was found not guilty of fishing in a prohibited area without a permit.

Hancock, 62, was found not guilty of fishing for crabs under 140mm and failing to give his name and address to the enforcement officer.

Hancock, skipper of the Searcher, said he agreed to take Sneade, who had a commercial fishing licence, out on June 5, 2018, to salvage empty prawn pots from the seabed where his fishing boat sank off Gwbert.

Hancock said: “I felt sorry for Mr Snead because his boat sank and he was not able to earn any money.”

The court heard around £15,000 of equipment was lost when the Three Brothers sank, and Sneade had been unable to work since. He stated he had been out with other fishermen throughout the week to collect his gear.

Sneade said: “I lost everything. Fishing is all I have done all my life.”

Sneade had been out in his dingy earlier that day to retrieve pots along with lobsters and crabs from his store cage, which he left covered in Netpool, Cardigan, before setting out with Hancock.

He said: “They (the crabs) were the thickness of a cigarette paper undersize. My measuring equipment had gone down with the boat and I was measuring them by eye. There were not enough to sell.”

The court heard the crabs were 2mm under size.

Marine Enforcement officer Michael Calas spotted pots being pulled onto the Searcher while eating his lunch in a layby.

He approached them as they returned to the Searcher’s moorings at Netpool, and came to the conclusion they had caught the lobsters and crabs while out together on the unregistered hobby boat.

A heated exchange followed and Sneade admitted swearing at Mr Calas and refusing to surrender his lobsters, which he stated were the permitted size.

The officer claimed they had refused to cooperate with him.

Sneade was fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 costs.