A FISH-LOVER has proved that otters ate dozens of his prize animals by catching the critters on camera.

Pete Bayley had a nasty shock earlier this year when the animal snuck under the safety net which protected a pond full of koi carp and goldfish and killed 40 of them.

At the time, the 71-year-old had insisted that an otter was the culprit, but was met with disbelief and uncertainty.

Now, after installing a motion-sensitive night vision camera in his garden, he’s spotted the otter and proved his doubters wrong.

Pete, of Glenwood Close, Old Town, said: “Some kind people brought over some fish for me to replace the ones I’d lost.

“Unfortunately, the otter came back and ate all of them too.

“However, this time I saw it on the camera feed.

“I’d made the net stronger, but it lifted up a stone to create a gap and squeezed in that way.

“It returned the following night by going through some of my plants.

“I was surprised, I didn’t think it could be that crafty.

“It was nice to be proved right because people kept saying that otters don’t come around here, so I’m quite pleased.”

Pete actually got more than he bargained for when he set the camera up.

He added: “I also saw vast quantities of other wildlife, I was quite surprised.

“I saw a bunch of badgers coming out of the sweetcorn on my allotments and I saw deer by the tulips.

“Foxes and badgers shared the feed I left out for them, which was quite a nice sight.

“Birds also bounce on the net like a trampoline.”

Pete first found evidence of the otter’s initial slaughter when he found the carcass of one of his koi left on his lawn back in March.

There were also small clawed footprints in the snow that had just fallen.

Two small goldfish were the only survivors of the first attack.

Appalled by the incident, Pete never bought another koi and kept to filling the pond with goldfish.

Despite taking precautionary measures to improve the strength of the net, he lost more fish.

He added: “I estimate that I’ve lost 70 fish to the greedy otter over the past few months

“However, I think now, at last, the net is completely otter-proof.

“There’s now a net that goes right under the plants and is completely sewn up, so there are no gaps at all.

“Nothing has been seen on the camera for the past three weeks.

“The half-dozen goldfish I’ve put in there are safe, fingers crossed!”

Otters are currently protected under UK law as their population has declined rapidly in recent years.

Pete uploaded footage of his garden wildlife online.

The footage has proved popular, with the videos appearing on the BBC News website, making Pete a rather unexpected local celebrity. He joked: “They doff their cap down at the allotments when they see me now.”