Professional fish thieves have targeted pond owners in Shrewsbury and Ipswich during the past few weeks to steal pond fish worth an estimated 17,000.
According to a report in the Evening Star, a fishkeeper from the Belmont Road area of Ipswich, Suffolk, had 44 fish stolen. The haul included large Koi and tench and is claimed to be worth in the region of 15,000.
A month prior to this, 30 orange and white Koi were stolen from a pond in The Street, Bawdsey, Suffolk.
Six large Koi, worth about 400 each, were stolen from a pond in Shrewsbury, but twenty smaller fish were left in the pond and were found floating on the surface the following morning.
During mid May, 13 fish including Koi and shubunkins were stolen from a pond in Fir Grove, Oswestry.
Police and aquatic retailers in the areas believe that the fish are being stolen by professionals and sold on the black market.
A staff member at Seapets in Kesgrave told the Evening Star: "This type of theft has become common - I have heard of five this year alone.
"The thieves pull up in the middle of the night when people are away and dredge the pond with nets, discarding the less valuable fish.
"They are then taken and sold on the black market."