AN angler says he received the shock of his life when he reeled in a crocodile - while fishing at a quiet lake.

Alan Prangnell, 64, was out fishing for roach when he felt a strong tug on his line.

To his disbelief, when he reeled in the catch, he says a crocodile was staring back at him just inches from where he sat.

Alan, who has been fishing since he was six years old, said: "This thing grabbed the roach I was reeling in.

"When it emerged I saw it was a crocodile about two feet long.

"It was underneath where I was sitting on my box on the water and just lay by the side of my feet for about eight seconds. Then it shot back into the lake.

"It opened its mouth and let out the fish - or what was left of it. It had cut it in half and there was just its head and part of the body.

"I was in disbelief - I had to justify in my mind what I had just seen."

Alan, from Ringwood, was alone when he was fishing at the popular 22-acre lake near his home.

The support worker for the NHS is convinced someone living nearby had disposed of the reptile in the lake once it had grown too big.

The topic has been the centre of discussion at the Ringwood and District Anglers Association since Alan reported the sighting.

Although secretary and vice president Peter Hutchinson doesn't believe it can be a crocodile, he admitted it was possible.

However, committee member John Sudworth believes the sighting could simply be a 30 pound pike.

John said: "A 30 pound pike will look like a crocodile. They have a very long head and a very long snout.

"Personally, I think if there is a crocodile in there it wouldn't stand a chance of surviving the winter."

The fishing club officials and Mr Prangnell have refused to disclose the location of the lake for fear of attracting large groups.