AN angler who gracefully conceded his record for the biggest minnow ever caught in British waters has once again landed the title.

Jim Sawyer, of Ferryhill, County Durham, was last week forced to admit defeat when an aquatic scientist from Wiltshire claimed he had landed a new record catch.

But today, The Northern Echo can reveal that Mr Sawyer had never lost his title because an error was made when weighing the competitors.

Mr Sawyer, a 51-year-old retired club singer, caught his record minnow at Whitworth Lake, near Spennymoor, County Durham, in 1998.

It weighed 13.5 drams, but the measurement was widely reported at the time as 13.5 grams.

A dram, short for drachm, is an imperial unit of weight measuring one 16th of an ounce, equivalent to almost 1.8 grams.

The confusion means Mr Sawyer's catch tipped the scales at almost 24g.

When rival Dr Mark Everard netted a 15g minnow, he looked up the former record and believed his was a monster of the deep.

Mr Sawyer said: "It was when I saw the picture in the paper of the minnow that was supposed to be bigger than mine, I knew there was no way it was heavier, so checked the official records.

"It was always just a bit of fun to me, but I have to admit I am chuffed to have the record back.

"My mates will have to stop ribbing me about losing the record now."

Dr Everard said: "I was aware of the possibility of a fish being weighed in drams or grams, so checked that straight away with the British Record Fish Committee, which verifies these records, and was told to use grams.

"It has been an honest mistake and a bit of fun despite the confusion."

David Rowe, of the British Record Fish Committee, confirmed that the 1998 record still stands and said the confusion has been an honest mistake.

Mr Sawyer, who also holds the Ferryhill and District Angling Club record for the largest pike at 23lb, is planning to land more monster catches when he moves to Spain in the new year.