MORE than £50,000 worth of fish were stolen after thieves drained a borough pool.
Raiders broke the locks to the entrance of Lodge Pool between 1am and 7am on Sunday (July 20).
They blocked off water coming into the reservoir and then lifted the sluice gate to drain the pool which is owned by Severn Trent.
Gallons of water flowed into the River Arrow and it is believed the culprits used nets to catch thousands of fish including carp, bream, roach and trench.
Members of the Lodge Park Residents Association raised the alarm and a team from Wychbold Swan Rescue also had to remove two swans and three cygnets.
John Hughes, fishery bailiff for Lodge Park Angling Society, said he was devastated at the loss and was worried how the other fish would cope in just three feet of water.
“We have lost thousands and thousands of fish, not to mention the mess and damage they have caused to the pool and other wildlife.
“Just five years ago we put in £10,000 worth of fish which would now be much bigger and worth a lot more, and now we are losing more and more money because people can’t fish here at the moment.
“I’ve been a bailiff for seven years but I have been involved with the pool since the 1970s and I’m just absolutely devastated. I’ve never seen anything like this.
“We urgently need more water or aerators for the few fish we have left.”
A spokeswoman from Severn Trent said they were working together with a number of organisations and offering their help and support.
She said: “As well as being a home for swans, fish and supporting the local environment, the pool helps to prevent flooding in the area.
“It is filled naturally by a mix of spring water and surface water and it will take some time to get back to normal.”
A spokeswoman for Redditch Borough Council added they had assisted with clearing debris which had travelled from the pool into the town’s waterways.
Anyone with any information about the incident should call West Mercia Police on 101.