Funfair scraps giving out goldfish as prizes after man filmed swallowing one alive

The tradition of offering goldfish as prizes at an 800-year-old funfair has been scrapped - after a man was filmed swallowing one.

Officials at Bridgwater Fair in Somerset say the animals will no longer be given out to the public.

The move comes after Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year.

Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year. In the 14-second clip, Coles can be seen with the live fish in his hand before swallowing it with a drink and holding his mouth open to the camera.

Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year. He was fined £300 and banned from keeping fish for five years. The fair has confirmed it will no longer offer fish as prizes. (SWNS)
Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year. He was fined £300 and banned from keeping fish for five years. The fair has confirmed it will no longer offer fish as prizes. (SWNS)

The video was posted onto Snapchat where it was widely shared on social media. It was later reported to the RSPCA by those concerned about what they had seen.

Coles was sentenced at Exeter Crown Court and was ordered to pay £300 with £85 victim surcharge. He was also banned from keeping fish for five years.

The Showmen's Guild, the organisers behind Bridgwater Fair, confirmed goldfish will no longer be offered as prizes at future fairs in Bridgwater following the incident.

It is not known if a similar ban will be offered at other funfairs.

Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year. He was fined £300 and banned from keeping fish for five years. The fair has confirmed it will no longer offer fish as prizes. (SWNS)

A spokesman for the organisation's western section committee said: "Due to the incident reported by the RSPCA last year, bad press and emotive issues this is causing, the western section committee of the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain agreed to suspend the giving of live animals as prizes at Bridgwater Fair 2019.

"The western section cannot comment on other fairs across the country."

A spokeswoman for Sedgemoor District Council said the authority received multiple calls to ban live animals as prizes at the annual four-day event.

She said: "After the RSPCA recently prosecuted a person for swallowing a live goldfish, which was won as a prize at Bridgwater Fair last September, the council was inundated with requests from animal charities, journalists and individuals, asking the council to ban the practice of giving live animals as prizes in this day and age.

Joshua Coles, 27, of Tiverton, Devon, was filmed swallowing a goldfish which had been won at Bridgwater Fair last year. He was fined £300 and banned from keeping fish for five years. The fair has confirmed it will no longer offer fish as prizes. (SWNS)

"We responded to those concerned, saying that SDC do not own or run the fair, so it is not within our remit to ban the practice or not.

"We wrote to the Showman's Guild who run the fair and they have replied, saying they would suspend the practice of giving goldfish at this year's fair.

"Our staff were unaware of the incident as it was not mentioned in the police or security debrief at the time."

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA welcomed the ban at Bridgwater Fair and said goldfish often offered as prizes "suffer miserably" and are "easily stressed".

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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