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Man fined after swallowing goldfish won at funfair

Joshua Coles swallowed a goldfish at Bridgwater Fair in Somerset. Credit: RSPCA

A man has been fined after he was filmed swallowing a live goldfish won at a funfair.

Joshua Coles, 27, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal in relation to the incident in September last year.

In a 14-second clip, he can be seen with the live fish in his hand before swallowing it with a drink and then showing his empty mouth to the camera.

The video was posted on social media, before being reported to the RSPCA which then brought forward the prosecution.

Exeter Magistrates’ Court heard how the fish would have been under stress and suffered before slowly dying after being swallowed by Coles.

The goldfish would have suffered stress before slowly dying. Credit: PA

RSPCA inspector John Pollock said: “While it may have seemed funny at the time, it is not a nice end for any animal.

“I believe that any reasonable person would be aware that swallowing live animals would cause those animals to suffer."

The charity condemned the use of animals as funfair prizes. It said they "suffer miserably" in the conditions they are kept in. It urged people to contact local authorities asking them to adopt a ban on animals being given as prizes.

Coles, of Washfield near Tiverton in Devon, has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work, banned from keeping fish for five years, and fined a total of £385.