A horrified grandfather caught a man allegedly pouring disinfectant into his pond in the middle of the night – killing his 25 beloved koi and goldfish.
William Pritchard, 60, was woken by his Patterdale terrier Toto barking at around 1.40am on July 6.
He saw a message from his security system alerting him to movement outside his home and looked out of the window. He saw a man walking by but didn't think anything of it and went back to sleep.
But the next morning, William discovered that all 25 goldfish and baby koi – costing £500 all together – were dead or floating in foamy water.
The father-of-four and grandfather-of-11 looked back at CCTV footage and caught a man pouring a liquid into the pond.
William said: "I went to the bedroom window and saw this guy walking away, he was carrying a squeezy bottle in his hand. I thought nothing of it.
"I got up later that morning and all the fish were dead in the pond. I saw bubbles, foam and dead fish.
"I was gobsmacked. I looked through the videos and the camera caught him. I couldn’t work out why he did it.
"The grandkids loved the fish – they had names for them. I haven't the heart to tell them.
"There were one or two fish swimming about on the side and I got them out and put them into water and they didn’t survive."
William had been keeping fish at his retirement housing complex in Runcorn, Cheshire since an injury forced him to retire from his job as a joiner.
"I’d go and sit next to the pond and draw, and it's just been taken away from me," he said.
William showed the footage to his partner Pauline, 53, the next day before starting to clear out the pond, pump and filter.
He said: "I've done it about three or four times. I’ve had to scrub the inside of the pond but it’s gone right through the filtration system and knackered it.
"I tried to get it up and running so I found a few pond snails and put them in the water but they died right away."
William estimates it will cost £800 to replace the kit.
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He said: "I can either let this go and forget about it but if something happens and he does it again I’ll feel guilty.
"I'm not going to let it knock me back, I’ll push forward as hard as I can."
Cheshire Police said: "At 9.30am on Tuesday, July 6 police were called to reports of criminal damage at an address.
"The caller reported that a known man had poured an unknown substance into a garden pond, which was harming the fish.
"Enquiries in relation to the incident are ongoing and the person involved will be spoken to by officers.
"Police are not appealing for information at this time."
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