A mischievous mink is on the loose in Brighton Marina – and is causing havoc by chewing holes in luxury powerboats.
Boat owner Elliott Maurice had a sinking feeling after discovering the cheeky creature had chewed a hole in his £100,000 boat.
Minutes later the animal, dubbed Minnie, was then caught enjoying a fish lunch on the deck of Mr Maurice’s boat.
Elliott, 36, who has owned his boat for three years, discovered the hole in the cabin on Sunday evening.
He said: “I went on the boat and found quite a strange smell and thought it was a bit odd.
“When I opened the cabin I saw droppings about the size of rat droppings.
Then I saw a hole in the bulkhead about the size of a fist and I knew there was no way a rat could have done that.
“I went up to the harbour office and was told there is a mink on the loose.”
An Argus photographer even caught the mink in the act.
Elliott, who owns the Limehouse Lamp Company, said: “I don’t know if it has damaged any other boats, as a lot of people are away because of the weather. However, it seems to have chosen mine for its home.
“I’m not over keen on it, to be honest. It is quite cute looking but not something you want to make friends with. I think they can be quite vicious.”
Elliott said he was also disappointed by the response of management at the marina to the problem.
He added: “Apparently it has been at large for about ten days but no one was told about it. Left to its own devices it could have done many thousands of pounds of damage.
“They are trying to get someone down here to trap it but I feel they don’t seem to think it’s their problem.
“I pay £3,000 a year to keep my boat there so to say they don’t have any responsibly for duty of care is ridiculous.”
It is unclear where the mink has come from but Mr Maurice, who lives near Henfield, said: “I believe there used to be a mink farm around here somewhere in the 1960s and a group of mink was let loose.”