Forty fish perished after a council failed to care for them properly during repair work to their pond.

The carp, which lived in the rockery pond in a public garden in Brighton and Hove, died last month after water in their temporary home was not kept fresh.

Brighton and Hove City Council is now liaising with the RSPCA to make sure it does not happen again and learn “valuable lessons for the future”.

The fish were among about 1,000 which lived in Brighton’s Preston Park Pond.

At the beginning of January, The Argus reported the pond was undergoing repairs for the first time in two decades.

It was being drained after springing a leak. The council promised it would “carefully” scoop the fish out.

But tragically, 40 fish died in the course of the works.

'Regrettable situation'

Geoff Raw, strategic director for Brighton and Hove City Council, admitted: “This is a very regrettable situation. Unfortunately we have lost some fish in the course of the urgent repair works to the park and pond.

“We thought we had made good plans and preparations for temporarily storing the fish on-site in specially-insulated skips which were specifically chosen as they are hard to vandalise.

“However, freezing weather meant we couldn't refresh the water regularly without causing an ice hazard on the path and cycle track nearby.

“We have been in contact with the RSPCA to review what happened and have learnt some valuable lessons for the future."

RSPCA concern

“Staff are very upset as they are keen conservationists and would never have wanted this.”

A member of the public, who asked not to be named, said he was very upset. He said: “I am appalled that no one seems to care or be interested in this problem.”

He added he saw RSPCA staff in a “heated discussion” with council workers near where the fish were stored.

Simon Reed, of Edburton Contractors, speaking in early January at the start of the works, said: “We can’t be certain how many fish are in there but we know there are carp, perch, koi carp and even goldfish.

“I think people must throw their fish in there when they get too big for their tanks at home.”

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