A FISHY tale which raised tempers in two counties has finally come to an end.

The 37lb pike at the centre of a row between the Portobello Inn, Worcester, and Hereford Museum was returned to the museum this week – following months of wrangling between the pub, Portobello Angling Club and the museum.

The pike, which had been mounted on the pub's wall, was in fact one which went missing from the museum sometime after it was donated in 1952 – although no one noticed it was gone until the 1980s.

The beast was caught by Major W H Booth at Hay-on- Wye in 1910 and, at the time, held the record as the largest rod-caught pike from a river in the UK.

Landlady Emma Farley said: “The angling club gave it back to the museum.

There was nothing the pub or the brewery could do about it.

“It is a shame – but we’ve got a singing fish in its place.”

But the singing fish won’t be there for long, as Hereford Museum promised to build a fibreglass replica to fill its place and a member of the Portobello Angling Club has offered to build a new case.

A Herefordshire Council spokesman said: “A pike which was in its museum collection during the 1950s, but then disappeared and turned up on the wall of a Worcester pub in the 1960s, has been returned to the council.

“Over the years the condition of the 37lb pike, caught by Major W H Booth in the River Wye in 1910, has deteriorated.

Members of the museum’s staff have already begun the process of conservation and plan to put the fish on display next year.”

The council also confirmed it is to commission a life-size replica to be presented to the pub.

But there is one good thing about the fish returning to Herefordshire: no more nasty shocks in the night.

“The eyes glowed in the dark,” said Emma. “My new fish doesn’t do that.”