A couple have spoken of their devastation after an otter killed their special prize fish.

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Linda and Alan Brown, from Thetford, returned from holiday to discover an otter had visited their 6,000-gallon pond with devastating results.

The couple, who are both 60, had about 150 goldfish and 50 other fish which had been born and raised in their pond at their Haling Way home. They also had koi carp, mirror carp, ghost and more.

Some of their special prize fish were more than 25 years old and weighed about 28lb.

The otter had left the fish half eaten or bitten, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Mr and Mrs Brown were left so “heartbroken” that they have now removed the pond from their garden.

Mrs Brown, who works for Music Sales in Bury St Edmunds, said: “We had a good fence around the pond, a net over the top, but there is no way you could stop an otter getting in.

“We will not see the same wildlife visiting our garden any more because we are not giving the otter another chance to kill or mutilate any more fish.

“We will miss the ducks visiting our pond, the kingfishers sitting on the fence, the heron, standing on the decking and the dragonflies, frogs, newts, snakes and many others who come to our pond. So much for someone’s wonderful idea of reintroducing otters into the rivers so we can see more wildlife.

“It won’t be in our garden now and maybe others gardens after the otter has visited their ponds.”

As recently reported in the Eastern Daily Press, otters have been spotted in the Little Ouse in Thetford.

Otter populations crashed to near extinction across most of lowland England by the mid 1970s. To help the situation, otters were released by the Otter Trust in Norfolk between 1984 and 1997 with the approval of the statutory conservation bodies existing at the time.

But an Environment Agency spokesman stressed there had been no reintroductions since 1999 and that the reintroductions had played a modest role in the otherwise natural recovery of the otter.

There is a national pot of money available to contribute towards the cost of electric fencing at fishing clubs where it is seen as the best option to protect fish stocks.

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