Environment Agency officers have removed a 25lb catfish from the lake at Thurrock's Lakeside shopping centre after the rogue fish had been seen eating ducks and other wildfowl.

The catfish - an invasive species which had been introduced to the man-made lake - was caught and relocated through a partnership project the Environment Agency runs with the Catfish Conservation Group.

The Alexandra Lake catfish was removed by fisheries officers Tom Baird and Ben Norrington, who worked with the Catfish Conservation Group and staff from intu Lakeside.

Ben Norrington, Environment Agency Fisheries Officer, said: "Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and cost the UK economy a massive £1.8 billion a year. Working with the Catfish Conservation Group, we're looking at high-risk waters where fish could escape into rivers and pose a risk to native fish and other wildlife.

"The fish was relocated to a fully enclosed lake.

"It's not great for kids to see these large fish eating the ducks, so we removed this large catfish and will work with the lake's owners to manage the risk posed by the remaining catfish population."

The collaboration between the Environment Agency and the Catfish Conservation Group is aimed at highlighting the issue of invasive fish species and offering a solution to a problem that can significantly affect ecosystems and fisheries.

As a result of the visit, fishing competitions will be held at the lake over the next few years to help reduce the population, with more catfish being caught and relocated to other enclosed waters with the help of the Catfish Conservation Group.