Jail Bait: Woman Convicted and Forced to Wear Ankle Monitor For Selling a Single Goldfish

We have another odd criminal case out of England where pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, has been charged criminally, fined, and forced to wear an ankle monitor for two month after the crime of selling a single goldfish. Her son Mark was also convicted criminally and forced to do 120 hours of community service.


We have talked about England becoming a Nanny State due to the increasing rules and penalties for its citizens, here and here and here. In our own country, we have seen the criminalization of once civil matters at any alarming rate, here.

In this case, Higgins violated a law that bars shops from selling a pet to anyone under the age of 16. She sold a single gold fish to a 14-year-old boy.

The punishment of the great-grandmother will cost the taxpayers £20,000 and leave her and her son with criminal records.

Now here is the fascinating part: the arrest was part of an undercover operation where the council sent in a 14-year-old boy to set up the pet store. She insisted that he looked 16.

I could understand if she was consorting with Convict Cichlid or Convict surgeonfish, but a gold fish?

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

How does one get on the gold fish sting team? That must be a long climb up to the vice squad. One can only imagine how the council would react to standard American carnivals which give away goldfish as part of the ball toss game.

What is really maddening is that they convict Joan Higgins but have done nothing to Kevin Kline who actually ate such pets in an act of senseless cruelty in London:

In the United States, we have prosecuted such pet fish murderers, here.
For the full story, click here.

12 thoughts on “Jail Bait: Woman Convicted and Forced to Wear Ankle Monitor For Selling a Single Goldfish”

  1. I may have a theory on UK’s ‘bizarro’ behaviour lately, from a february Guardian:
    “There are 327,000 problem drug users in England and Wales – more than 10 per 1000 of the adult population. This compares to 4.5 in Sweden and 3.2 in the Netherlands.”

    They’re 3 times as doped as the Netherlands! … I’d be acting a little irrational too if that were me I have to say!

    And how could you blame them! Everyone could probably use something to ‘lift their spirits’ on what’s probably the most depressing island of the world.

  2. This story comes from the Daily Mail, a newspaper with a somewhat less-than-stellar record for telling the truth, or the whole story. They are, in short, a tabloid.

  3. a gerbil in her coffee? no wonder they arrested her. this is england and they do have a reputation to uphold. a hamster in her tea perhaps but a gerbil in her coffee, never.

  4. It’s precisely this sort of thing that makes me hope my Visa gets renewed this summer!

  5. Not bloody surprised the birdy was distressed after The Sweeney booted the door down.
    And just how were the shop to know that someone who bought a mouse was going to dunk it in their coffee?
    “Could I buy one of those crocodiles that you have in your window?”
    “Certainly Madam. Now your not going to dunk it in your coffee this afternoon are you?”
    “No.”
    “Here you are then Madam. Would you like it in a bag?”

    It’s stuff like this going on that may make you understand why Maaarrghk! has an “aaarrgh” in the middle.

  6. That was what I thought about this story too, until I read further.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/31/pet-shop-fined-over-goldfish

    “He was sent in to make a test purchase by council staff investigating a complaint that the shop had previously sold a gerbil to a girl with learning difficulties who put it in a cup of coffee.”

    “An animal welfare officer also found a cockatiel in the shop that was in such distress it had to be put down.”

  7. Professor you forgot to mention the concerted effort by all law enforcement agencies involved. I’m sure that Scotland Yard alone could not have cracked a case of this magnitude without the help of Interpol and other international agecies. These slimy “GOLD FISH SELLERS” will infiltrated our U.S. borders next if not stopped and as the story unfolds I’m sure we’ll see they have ties to Al-Queda training camps.

  8. …and none of the 1.4 million CCTV cameras were even required to assist in breaking the case. Excellent detective work!

    I’m never, ever going back (sadly).

  9. Come on, this is a April 1 joke , right? And tomorrow you are going to say April Fool….

    No Party tonight in celebration for the New Year Tomorrow?

  10. “England! Pop by for a visit and see how we’ve lost our minds!”

    Marrgghhkk!,

    Dude, health care aside, what’s up with your pols? They seem to be leaving James Bond villain territory and entering into Benny Hill villain territory.

    I’m afraid I’ve have had no option but to tell the judge where he could wear that bracelet.

Comments are closed.