Anglers target shopping centre fish fattened up on sausage rolls and chips

The carp were introduced to the basin of Princes Quay Shopping Centre, in Hull, when it opened in 1999
The carp were introduced to the basin of Princes Quay Shopping Centre, in Hull, when it opened in 1999 - Bax Walker / Alamy Stock Photo

Ornamental fish in a shopping centre pond that have been fattened up on sausage rolls and chips are at risk of being stolen.

The colourful carp, often kept as pets in indoor and outdoor freshwater ponds, have been feasting on shoppers’ leftovers since they were introduced to the basin of Princes Quay Shopping Centre, in Hull, when it opened in 1999.

Anglers are attempting to catch the fish, believed to weigh more than 20lb each, according to Facebook posts seen by The Telegraph.

Shopping centre management said they are aware of illegal fishing in the basin and are in contact with Humberside Police.

Sarah Smith, the centre manager, said: “The fish within the dock are the property of Princes Quay, no one is permitted to fish and there is clear signage informing customers.

“Taking fish out of the dock in any capacity is classified as theft.”

‘Quick dabble until security moves you on’

Despite this, anglers have sought advice on social media about fishing in the basin.

One user wrote on Carp Capital Community Facebook group that you can have “a quick dabble until security moves you on”.

Others suggested tips on catching “the big lumps”, with one advising anglers to wait until they have the cover of darkness.

Another user said: “Every time I walk past there I think to myself ‘I’d love a crack in there’.”

However Ziggy Steel, another member of the Facebook group, said feeding the fish fast food is detrimental to their health.

He wrote: “Sadly loads of fish deformed. I’m not sure doner kebabs and half eaten burgers are good fish food.”

The shopping centre is built on stilts over Prince's Dock after which it is named
The shopping centre is built on stilts over Prince's Dock after which it is named - @imagesBV / Alamy Stock Photo

Mark Bayston, the owner of McCoy’s café overlooking the docks, said he had also seen evidence of poaching.

He told BBC: “We sometimes come in on a morning and there will be a line attached to one of the railings with a barb [hook] on the end that’s just sat in the water.

“It was here one morning when I opened up. I assume they’d [poachers] been disturbed and left it.”

Iain Turner, development officer at the Institute of Fisheries Management (IFM), said: “Carp will eat, eat, eat. They will eat things like sausage rolls, pasties and chips.

“The fish may look healthy because they’re so big, but if they’re fed non-natural food like this their vital organs, especially their livers, will become encased in fat. It really isn’t good for them.”

Humberside Police and IFM were contacted for comment.