Piranhas were the unlikely cause of a badly backed-up sewer in England, water company inspectors revealed this week.

The carnivorous fish, which are more often found in their native habitat in the warmer waters of the South American Amazon river basin, turned up dead in a sewer in Shropshire.

Severn Trent Water inspectors found them causing a significant blockage.

A company spokesman said the piranhas were among a batch of dead fish recently discovered in the Madeley area of Telford, after residents complained of problems.

In a statement, Severn Trent Water said: "It appears that a nearby resident had been disposing of dead fish, including piranhas, down the toilet and they had blocked the sewers.

"This is the second sewer blockage in the Shropshire area caused by odd items.

"In January, the company reported sewers in Ditton Priors near Bridgnorth were blocked by piles of pants that had been flushed down the toilet."

Severn Trent inspectors, Matt Final and Jay Slater, who were sent to investigate the Telford blockage said: "We've certainly seen some weird things in the sewers over the years but we were a little shocked to remove piranhas.

"You wouldn't think a fish of this size would fit down a toilet, but this is just one example of amazing things we find blocking the sewers."