Devon

Man fined for swallowing goldfish at Bridgwater Fair

JOSH COLES Image copyright FACEBOOK
Image caption Josh Coles swallowed a live goldfish after being "egged on" by friends, a court heard

A man who was filmed swallowing a live goldfish at a funfair and washing it down with a beer has been fined £300 for animal cruelty.

Josh Coles, 27, from Washfield near Tiverton, was filmed in September 2018 putting the fish he won in his mouth.

Exeter magistrates heard Coles was "amused and bemused" by the investigation, saying it was "only a goldfish".

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.

'Egged on'

The 14-second long video - posted by Coles' girlfriend - showed him holding the fish in his right hand before putting it into his mouth.

The clip showed he then drank half a pint of beer to swallow it before opening his mouth to show his friends that he had gulped it down.

He was filmed at the Bridgwater Fair in Somerset, which took place between 26 and 29 September.

Image copyright SNAPCHAT/RSPCA
Image caption The court heard Coles was a "class clown" who showed off in front of people

Vet David Martin said the goldfish was still alive when it was swallowed, the court heard.

Prosecutor, Lindi Meyer said Coles, a tree surgeon by profession, was "egged on" by two other people who laughed as he carried out the act.

"He caused the death of the animal," she said.

A probation officer said Coles was a "class clown" who showed off in front of people and he was "embarrassed and ashamed" by what he had done.

Solicitor Jeremy Tricks, defending, said Coles had been diagnosed with ADHD, depression and anxiety.

Coles was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work and five days of rehabilitation.

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He was also ordered to pay £300 with an £85 victim surcharge and was given a five-year ban from keeping fish.

Speaking after the hearing, RSPCA Inspector John Pollock said the goldfish would have suffered a "great deal".

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