Page last updated at 09:40 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 10:40 UK

Fishermen mourn death of a carp

Angler: Benson was a phenomenal fish ... absolutely gorgeous

Anglers are mourning the death of what is believed to be Britain's biggest common carp.

Nicknamed Benson, the carp swam in the Bluebell Lakes at Oundle, near Peterborough, but was found floating on the surface poisoned by uncooked nuts.

He was introduced into the lakes in 1995, and at the time of his death weighed 64lb (29kg), was aged between 20 and 25 and had been caught 63 times.

Now Benson is lying in a deep freeze waiting to be be put on display.

'People's fish'

Tony Bridgefoot, owner of Bluebell Lakes on the Cambridgeshire/Northamptonshire border, told BBC News that he thought the fact anglers did not have to join an expensive fishing syndicate but could fish on a day ticket meant the carp was accessible to everyone, making Benson "the people's fish".

"They sort of adopted it and took it to their hearts, and if you were lucky enough to catch the fish or even see the fish it was perfectly clear what a beautiful creature it was.

"Some people would catch it within two or three days of fishing here and I've had some people who've spent five, six, seven years just to try and catch that one fish."

Mr Bridgefoot believes Benson was poisoned by uncooked nuts, which are toxic to fish.

"Our suspicions arose when we found some uncooked nuts in the margins and we found some uncooked nuts in the skips that we use.

"Consequently we're very suspicious that some uncooked bait may have gone in the water.

"Benson may have picked them up and in that case they would swell up inside the fish.

"The outcome is catastrophic."

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