Police Mistake Goldfish For Sharks During Property Investigation

“Just when you think you have heard it all!” reads a now-deleted tweet from Sussex Police Inspector Darren Taylor: “Team attended a premises over the weekend, only to discover a 8ft swimming pool in the front room. In the swimming pool (apart from water) were small sharks swimming around and an artificial Christmas tree in the middle! I kid you not!”

The incident was widely reported on, as you would expect — sharks, in a swimming pool, circling a Christmas tree? Sounds like something out of my dream journal, and not a day in the life of a UK policeman!

However, nearly every detail in the widely-shared tweet has proven incorrect after closer examination. Here’s what actually happened…

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Officers were called to a neighbor dispute in Haywards Heath and entered a ground floor apartment. There, they found “several types of goldfish/fish commonly kept as pets” that were “in a children’s paddling pool fitted with pumps and filters, not a swimming pool.” Rounding off their statement to Metro UK news, the Sussex police department conceded that “none were sharks.”

While they were concerned about the volume of water in the apartment and the potential hazards of such a makeshift setup, the fish appeared to be in good health. Hoping to put an end to the embarrassing incident, Inspector Taylor has deleted his Twitter account and the department is running interference, stating: “We are not releasing any further information about the incident and are not waiving copyright control over photographs that were on the tweet which has since been deleted. No further use of the images is permitted.”

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The incident shines a further negative spotlight on a police force that has been dubbed the “most sexist” in the country and is facing allegations of “a culture of boozing, banter, wind-ups and flirting at the station,” according to an investigation from The Sun.

Across the UK, trust in police is falling as “people are giving up on reporting some crimes… as the chances of a positive result are so slim,” according to a YouGov survey.


Thankfully, the station was able to clear up the truly bizarre story of “sharks” in the apartment. That just leaves one question: what about the Christmas tree? Your guess is as good as mine! Maybe the goldfish were just getting into the spirit a little early.

See more from the Sussex Police here.

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