Visitors to Coronation Park were in for a surprise over the weekend when they visited the Helston beauty spot only to find the lake drained of water.
This unusual sight was the result of vandals kicking through the wooden sluice gate last Thursday, leading to the water rapidly vanishing over the course of the night.
When John Leech, who operates the Lakeside Cafe and boating lake, arrived at 8.30am on Friday he found confused ducks and swans walking around on the floor of the lake.
Mr Leech said: “Most of the water ran away, which is a bit of a problem when you're trying to operate boats. It's also a problem for the wildlife.
“There is a large lake and a small lake. In the small lake, where we have the toddlers and kiddie pedal boats, there's not enough water to run them and the swans and ducks are literally walking in it, looking bemused.
“The large lake probably has six inches of water.”
He immediately contacted Cornwall Council, which has carried out remedial work and ensured vandals cannot strike again by installing metal and locks.
“It was just not a very public spirit act,” he added.
The lack of water exposed a large number of items that had been thrown into the lake, giving Mr Leech and his staff the opportunity to get in and clear it out.
They found a couple of bicycles, “umpteen” trainers and “enough shoes to keep Clarks going”, plus a huge amount of breeze blocks, which the council have since taken away.
Mr Leech is now planning a similar clear up day in the New Year, when he hopes the lake will be drained again and given a good clear out by volunteers.
It was then Helston Fire Station to the rescue on Monday, when crews spent the evening refilling the lake by pumping water from the nearby River Cober.
“Without the fire brigade we'd be rather snookered,” added Mr Leech.