An amateur fisherman was shocked to discover an old plastic bottle in the stomach of his monster catch.

Andy Sinclair, 50, from Worthing, caught a 9lb 10oz cod off Shoreham Arm, but had a surprise when he went to fillet his dinner.

After taking the catch home and cutting it open he discovered an old plastic water bottle lodged in the fish’s |belly.

Andy, who has only been fishing for about a year and a half, said: “It is definitely the biggest fish I have caught. I took it home and cut it open and found a plastic water bottle inside it.

“The bottle had been flattened out as if someone has stepped on it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“I was so shocked I forgot to take a picture of it but my fishing friends have found similar in their catches over the past few months.”

Andy said he enjoyed a tasty cod -supper and stored the remainder of the fish in his freezer.

Jess Price, conservation officer at the Sussex Wildlife Trust, said marine litter was a “huge problem” and 75% of all litter recorded in the sea was plastic.

She added that statistics showed there were 2,000 items of litter for every kilometre of beach in England.

She said: “The main issue is that marine life ingests it. The problem is plastic never biodegrades, it is there forever.

“If something swallows a balloon or bottle then it’s taking up space in its stomach and can cause them to starve.

“Few people intentionally throw litter into the sea but people don’t think about where their litter is going, especially big balloon and Chinese lantern releases.

“It is causing problems for our oceans and marine life, and the problem is only getting worse.”

Richard Harrington, of the Marine Conservation Society, said: “The bottle inside Andy’s cod is really interesting and confirms a fact we already know, that fish, and many other kinds of marine animal, consume plastics.

“As far as I know this is the first time we’ve had a cod reported to us with a complete plastic bottle intact in its stomach. We more usually hear of polythene items such as plastic bags consumed.

“Cod are voracious predators and are not very choosy about the kind of prey they eat, so they eat a variety of items they find floating in the water around them.”