This fish tale might be a wee bit hard to stomach.

Belfast City Council is advising its citizens: Don't eat fish found lying on the roadside. They're too fishy.

Tuesday's health warning follows the accidental dumping of thousands of mackerel on to the busy Ravenhill Road, apparently by a delivery truck with a loose back door. Locals grabbed bags to haul in their catch before passing cars could turn the stranded school to pulp.

Tommy Bardsley says he bagged 25 mackerel and deemed them off-the-boat fresh. "I know fish," the 61-year-old declared.

The council says Bardsley and other opportunists don't know microbiology, because they don't know where the fish came from, and they could be contaminated by automotive pollutants.