By Courtney Pike, Angling Correspondent
Felixstowe was celebrating today after the huge shark that had been terrorising the resort for weeks was killed by brave police chief Martin Cody.
But the shark hunt came at a high price as local fisherman Bart Clint was eaten alive just moments earlier.
Mr Clint, a veteran of the merchant navy, had been hired by Chief Cody and town mayor Larry Warne to hunt and kill the shark before this weekend’s annual charity swim turned into a terrifying human buffet.
They took oceanographer Matt Cooper but the Suffolk Gazette editor refused an invitation to join them on board. He denied he was scared, insisting he was committed to covering a local church fete instead.
However, the Gazette did hire a drone to follow the boat overhead as it set out into the North Sea to track down and kill the 24-foot predator.
And the drone soon captured the horrific moment when the shark leapt up onto the end of Mr Clint’s old wooden boat, tipping it front end up so that he slid down into its gaping jaws.
At the request of his family, we publish the image at the top of this page to illustrate just how brave he was at the death.
Meanwhile, Mr Cooper had plunged overboard in the ensuing panic and was presumed drowned or eaten by the shark as well, leaving only Chief Cody on board as the boat lurched to the right and began to sink.
The drone footage showed Cody was being circled by the shark and was destined to be another shark snack, but the ingenious police chief had other ideas.
He found a canister of helium on the boat, which Mr Clint had used to inflate balloons to be sold to Felixstowe tourists when he was not out at sea.
As the shark approached, Cody shoved the canister into its hideous mouth; bits of Mr Clint were still dripping from its teeth. The shark punctured the metal and helium began escaping under pressure down its gullet.
Chief Cody grinned as the shark let out a hilarious, high-pitched squeaking noise as the gas took its comical effect – before it blew up into a thousand pieces as the pressure built up in its body.
Moments later, Mr Cooper surfaced unexpectedly – revealing he had been hiding on the seabed with a diver’s gas tank while Chief Cody acted the hero.
With the fearsome predator now dead, town mayor Mr Warne announced there would be a public service on the seafront to remember Mr Clint, Chrissie Watkins, the swimmer who went missing two weeks ago, two local divers who were also feared to be victims, and Pippet, a small dog eaten alive in front of its devastated owner as it fetched a tennis ball from the water near the pier.
And with that, the Suffolk Gazette ends its coverage of this astonishing saga. It is now safe to go back in the water. Some readers have suggested the story might one day make a film, but no one would pay to see such a movie.
Here is how the story unfolded: initial fears were raised when a windsurfer claimed a shark had bitten a huge chunk from his surfboard. Then, after reports a woman swimmer had gone missing, the town mayor and police chief disagreed over how to tackle the shark problem. Eventually, they agreed to hire local fisherman Bart Clint to hunt down and kill the shark.