British Transport Police in South Yorkshire had some fishy business to tackle... saving 48 rare African tropical fish removed from a train from London.
The fish were in a case being transported from the National History Museum in London to The University of Hull, for research by post-graduate scholar Kai Winkelmann, but were mistakenly taken off the train at Peterborough.
When Mr Winkelmann got up to leave the service at Doncaster and discovered himself fishless, he rushed to the station’s police base to report ‘theft’.
Sgt Steve Down said: “A distressed Mr Winkelmann stressed time was of the essence as the fish required specialist care and would die.
“The officers at Doncaster quickly realised the problem and called colleagues at Peterborough and Kings Cross, and the fish were tracked down at Peterborough.
“We made arrangements to have them put on the next service to Doncaster where they were reunited with Mr Winkelmann who continued on his journey. I am sure the fish are now happily swimming around their new home completely unaware of the race against time to get them there!”
Mr Winkelmann said: “I had been studying these fish - which have been shown to be tremendously valuable for evolutionary biology - for over three years.
“With great effort I had collected their parents from Lake Tanganyika in Africa in 2012. The fish that went missing were their first generation offspring, and the last ones I had, so were extremely valuable, which is why I took them on the train myself.
“Like a miracle the officers found the case at Peterborough with the fish still alive and, after a lot of persuasion by the officers at Doncaster, rail staff agreed to transport the case back up to Doncaster.
“I received my case within 60 minutes, and quickly travelled to Hull to get them into pre-prepared tanks.
“It is thanks to the officers the fish survived. Thanks to them the recovered fish have years of helping in promising research into genetics.”