BRIDGWATER fair goers will this year not be able to take home a live goldfish as a prize.

Following an incident at last year’s event, which saw a 27-year-old man swallow a live fish in an alcohol-fuelled ‘social media stunt’.

The incident came to light earlier this year during court proceedings, whiich saw Tiverton man Joshua Coles given a 12-month community order.

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

Somerset County Gazette:

SHOCKING: The incident was caught on a Snapchat video 

With plans for this year’s fear being prepared, the organiser, the Showmen’s Guild, has decided to suspend the selling of live animals at the Bridgwater event for 2019.

A spokesperson for the western section committee of the Showmen’s Guild said: “Due to the incident reported by the RSPCA last year, bad press and emotive issues this is causing Sedgemoor District Council the western section committee of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain agreed to suspend the giving of live animals as prizes at Bridgwater Fair 2019.

“The Western Section can not comment on other fairs across the country.”

The council says it was ‘inundated’ with requests for the banning of live animal prizes, but was powerless to change the rules.

However, the council claims it was not made aware of the animal cruelty incident until the court proceedings.

A spokesperson for Sedgemoor District Council said: “After the RSPCA recently prosecuted a person for swallowing a live goldfish, which was won as a prize at Bridgwater Fair last September, the council was inundated with requests from animal charities, journalists and individuals, asking the council to ban the practice of giving live animals as prizes in this day and age.

“We responded to those concerned, saying at that SDC do not own or run the fair, so it is not within our remit to ban the practice or not.

“We wrote to the Showman’s Guild who run the fair and they have replied, saying they would suspend the practice of giving goldfishes at this year’s fair.

“Our staff were unaware of the incident as it was not mentioned in the police or security debrief at the time.”

*Cover photo caption: Laurence Douglas-Greene of Somerset Camera Club