Man faces conviction after stealing specimen from aquarium to win local event.
A man is in court today following a bizarre attempt to cheat during the weigh-in of a bass competition in the Channel Islands.
The 29-year-old individual faces charges of theft and false representation, after a near 14lb bass was presented at the weigh-in for the latest Bailiwick Bass Club Open Challenge in Guernsey.
Brought into the tackle shop where the weigh-in was taking place, the 13lb 13oz specimen would have bagged the £800 first prize had it not been for the eagle eyes of one of the judges who instantly recognised the fish as a resident of the local aquarium.
“The fish had two distinct markings on its head which gave it away straight away,” said the judge. “I’d been to the aquarium not long ago with my family and we’d spent a while watching this fish in its tank so I knew exactly what it looked like.”
One of three bass housed in the same tank at Guernsey Aquarium, the fish had been in residence at the popular tourist attraction for the past 15year and is well known to local anglers, as the owner of the tackle shop where the weigh-in took place explained.
"I don't know how the chap expected to get away with it because that fish is well known to a lot of anglers round here and it's from the only aquarium on the island," he told Total Sea Fishing. "We thought the fish looked familiar, it's got a couple of unique scars on it's head and I also noticed that there was no hook damage to the mouth and then alarm bells started to ring.
"God knows how he managed to steal it, the aquarium is in an old German army tunnel and is like fort Knox. I suspect he was planning to take the fish back to the aquarium too as he was trying to keep it alive, but unfortunately it died in the shop.
"We've seen a few guys trying to cheat over the years, catching fish on the boats and then bring them back to weigh-in at a shore competition, but never anything like this, and never anything that's led to the police being involved," he added.