Otter caught on CCTV breaking into garden centre and eating £10,000 of koi carp

A peckish otter was caught emerging from a pond with the fish at a garden centre in Darlington (Picture: Richard Scarr)

A garden centre is facing a £10,000 setback after a peckish otter broke in and helped itself to some koi carp.

Richard Scarr who owns Paddock Farm garden centre in Dalton Gates, Darlington, said the otter was caught on CCTV late at night leaving with the fish in its mouth.

The video footage shows the animal emerging from the pond carrying the fish and strolling away down the path.

Earlier this year, Mr Scarr came into the garden centre to find his whole stock of carp had gone, with the headless bodies of the fish discarded at the side of the pond.

The owner, who has worked at the garden centre for 12 years, was then forced to move any remaining fish inside.

A devastated Mr Scarr explained how his staff team had tried to keep the otter out on several occasions but never managed to.

He told the Daily Mail that the otter has ‘obliterated’ his whole stock of koi carp as well as getting other fish at the garden centre, adding that the animal is as big as a ‘medium-sized dog’.

Owner Richard Scarr said the otter at £10,000 worth of carp from the Paddock Farm garden centre (Picture: Google)

Mr Scarr said: ‘He got all of the Japanese Koi in the main pond. The worst thing is they don’t eat the whole fish, they just eat the heads off them because they like the brains.

‘Awful to say the least to come down in the morning and see that. We tried everything we could, we were trying to get up early in the morning to catch it, but we just couldn’t find a way.

‘We put new fences up, we did whatever we could, but we just couldn’t keep him out no matter what.’

The garden centre owner said that the staff team have now moved the remaining fish, including a couple of sturgeon, inside, but added that this has led to negative reviews of the centre because of how it looks.

He described how the ponds outside are looking a bit ‘neglected’ because they’re empty but added that it’s ‘sort of a catch-22’ as a business owner as to whether to put the fish back outside and risk the otter returning.

The owner said that even though they haven’t seen the otter since late January, it still feels too risky, especially as neighbours have reported their fish being taken by the otter too.

He added that the otter even caused thousands of pounds of damage by wrecking the pond’s liner.

Mr Scarr said he got in touch with the Wildlife Trust to get help catching the otter, but they said nothing could be done.

In response to the story, Grounded Reality posted on social media: ‘Really glad you didn’t catch the otter, as unless you had a licence you would have been breaking the law.

‘Otters are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

‘This means it’s an offence to wilfully kill, injure, capture or disturb otters except under licence.’

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