Homeowners furious and at a loss after a spate of late-night raids saw thousands of pounds of expensive fish looted from their garden ponds have been warned of an unlikely culprit.
Police in Corsham, Wiltshire, said they were “certain” a mob of hungry otters were to blame after seeking advice from the town’s neighborhood team.
They issued a ‘lock up your fish’ warning and advised residents to either install welded mesh or erect a wire fence to keep the mammals safely contained.
Wiltshire Police said in a statement: “We know this is not a police matter but the fish are worth a lot of money.”
A spokesman added: “A wire fence, similar to that used for cattle, consisting of a single wire around the pond, supported about 4 feet off the ground.”
They said both solutions are safe for the animals but deter them.
In nearby Pewsey, Leo Pocock woke up to find that during the night otters had sneaked into his garden near the Kennet and Avon Canal and stolen four of his prized koi carp.
“I’ve been keeping fish for at least 25 years and I’ve never seen an otter before,” he said.
“They took an 18 inch siroutsuri, a type of black and white carp, worth hundreds of pounds.
“I’ve lost £1,500 worth of fish but it’s not about the money. I’ve had them since they were little and I see them and feed them twice a day like you would a cat.’
Action for the River Kennet’s Anna Ford, who works to improve the river valley’s natural environment, said people shouldn’t be surprised and should be glad the otters are returning, even if it comes at a price.
“Otters will make the most of fish in ponds if the ponds aren’t adequately protected,” she continued.
“For an otter, fish in a pond are much easier prey than chasing wild fish in a flowing river.
“We are very fortunate to have Otter on the Kennet. They are a native apex predator – at the top of the food chain – and part of the river ecosystem.”
Otters, a protected species, often ambush between dusk and dawn, although they also feed during the day.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/11/wiltshire-police-warn-otters-are-stealing-expensive-fish-16809778/ Wiltshire: Police warn otters are stealing expensive fish