A TEEN pothole prankster has secured another victory for Malmesbury's crumbling roads.

Cheeky sixth former Ben Thornbury wanted to do something memorable to draw attention to the problem - and came up with the idea of pothole fishing.

He made a funny sign and used Amazon Prime's speedy next day delivery service to order a fishing rod and net.

On Friday morning, he staged a photo shoot of a man pretending to fish in one of the worst potholes in Abbey Row while wearing a mask of North Wiltshire MP James Gray.

A sign in the background says 'Pothole fishing, no licence required' while the angler can be seen reeling in what appears to be a fish caught in a puddle.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Pothole fishing sign in Abbey Row, MalmesburyPothole fishing sign in Abbey Row, Malmesbury (Image: Ben Thornbury)

Community hero Ben, who is well-known for his litter-picking, branded the town's road surfaces a 'disgrace' and urged Wiltshire Council to take action.

He said many residents whose cars have been damaged have had to wait months before receiving compensation.

The fishing pictures - which were posted on the Ben's Fix Our Potholes - Malmesbury Facebook page - have been widely circulated on social media and even caught the attention of ITV West Country.

This is the Cirencester College student's second pothole stunt - last April he put up two signs in Malmesbury High Street which said 'High Street crazy potholes golf now open' and 'Wiltshire Council you are a disgrace, fix the potholes'.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: The crazy golf sign that Ben Thornbury put up on Malmesbury High Street in April 2023The crazy golf sign that Ben Thornbury put up on Malmesbury High Street in April 2023 (Image: Ben Thornbury)

The incident gained national news coverage, with a reporter from the Sun coming to play a round of golf, and prompted Wiltshire Council to resurface the street in May.

Talking to the Standard this week, Ben said: "Potholes are all over the place at the moment and I can only describe the roads around the town at the moment as being a plague of potholes.

"Residents really are fed up and it’s understandable as when they have to make claims to the council, it takes months and months to even receive compensation.

"I came up with the idea after I saw a photograph of two men in America at the side of the road fishing into a pothole.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Pothole fishing in Abbey Row, MalmesburyPothole fishing in Abbey Row, Malmesbury (Image: Fix Our Pothole Malmesbury)

"So not having any fishing equipment, I quickly went on Amazon and purchased some which came the next day.

"My brother made the sign and people walking passed loved it."

And it appears that the stunt has reeled in a victory as on Tuesday, Wiltshire Council announced that resurfacing work will take place this week in Abbey Row.

Caroline Thomas, cabinet member for transport at Wiltshire Council, said: “We appreciate the concern around the number of potholes in Wiltshire and we are repairing roads as quickly as we can.

“Abbey Row is included in our programme of works, and repairs will take place this week.

“Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in potholes across the country due to factors such as recent extreme temperature variations.

"We encourage people to report any road defects using the MyWilts app.

“Changes won’t happen overnight but, over the coming months, people in all areas of the county will see more resurfacing work, and more potholes filled as multi-million pound investment is implemented.”

Meanwhile, MP James Gray said: "I share constituents concerns about potholes in Malmesbury which I regularly bring to the attention of Wiltshire Council.

"The government are giving Wiltshire Council a minimum of nearly £82 million in additional funding for roads over the next decade and I will continue to push the Department for Transport for more.

"Anyone with a concern about a pothole is welcome to bring it to the attention of my office who will flag them with Wiltshire Council."