THEY are counting the true cost of the storms and floods.

Peter and Debbie Beale say they have lost out on about £25,000 at their Hampshire fishery after 70 tonnes of gravel washed into their waters.

The couple run Broadlands Lakes Coarse Fishery in Calmore, near Totton, and believe 2,000 of their trout are dead after being buried alive under the gravel. And now a 9ft deep sinkhole has emerged on their land close to a bridge at the M27.

Debbie, who has run the fishery with Peter for almost eight years, said: “We’ve had problems since December.

“Around 70 tonnes of gravel has been washed downstream and it’s raised the river beds with water flooding over our bridge.

“We had 2,000 trout in our underwater cages but they must be dead because they are buried under it.

“We used them as bait during pike fishing season, which is our big winter season between October and March, so now we’ve lost out on a big chunk of business.

“We are at the bottom of the money pit because we’ve spent so much on repairs.”

They run an 82-acre estate, including more than 30 acres of water.

The pair have managed to keep the business open but are appealing for help from the private sector to provide machinery to remove the gravel, after claiming the Environment Agency would not help.

They believe work by the Army in Romsey to divert the flow of the River Test away from the town has increased the amount of water moving in their direction, in Hill Street, Calmore.

Debbie added: “We have had a sinkhole develop that must be 9ft deep and 12ft wide which we are having to fill with concrete blocks. It’s a never-ending struggle.”

“We have asked for help clearing the gravel but are not getting any because we are a commercial business.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We only added gravel to the River Itchen rather than the Test, so that gravel did not come from us.

“Because they are the owners of that site it is not our responsibility to remove the gravel. We are only responsible for public lakes and rivers so they as owners will have to remove it.”

• If anyone can help Peter and Debbie remove the gravel, contact them on 023 8086 9881.