A man on the island of Guernsey in the English Channel caught a 13-pound bass to win an ocean fishing contest and $1,290, only he didn’t actually catch the fish in the traditional sense. He stole it from the St. Peter Port Aquarium.
Matthew Clark, 29, posed for photos of his winning “catch” and claimed the prize in the Bailiwick Bass Club Open Competition before getting exposed by another competitor who recognized the fish.
“My wife and I took the kids to the aquarium and saw the bass in the tank,” Shane Bentley told The Mirror. “It stood out because it had some very distinct markings on its head.
“It wasn’t until the winning fish was lifted for the photo that I thought, ‘That’s the fish from the aquarium.’
“Next morning, I went to the aquarium and asked to see the bass with the markings. But neither myself nor the owner could find it anywhere.”
Bentley told contest organizers, who then alerted police. The Mirror reported that Clark panicked and sold the bass to a fishmonger, but police matched the head of the fish carcass to the missing bass and arrested Clark.
Clark wound up confessing to burglary and fraud over the summer incident, and on Thursday he was given 100 hours of community service after taking a two-year oath of good behavior.
According to The Mirror, Clark owed the owner of the aquarium $2,400, so on the last day of the fishing tournament, he scaled cliffs, climbed a rope ladder, and snuck into the aquarium through a back door. He presumably used a net to catch the fish.
It was unknown whether Bentley caught a fish in the contest, but he did catch a thief.
Photo from Stanley’s Pictures blog.