THERE were no loaves but there were lots of fishes when a vicar stepped inside a beauty parlour to bless some scaly creatures.

Dressed in his cassock Father Robert, of St Francis of Assisi church, Willett Way, Petts Wood, was an unexpected sight for people having their hair cut at Unique salon.

And they certainly were not expecting him to put his feet in tanks of water containing garra rufa fish so he could bless them and they could nibble off his dead skin.

The vicar says this blessing was all part of his plan to become known in the area and for people to realise he is approachable rather than stuffy.

Fr Robert said: “As the local vicar I was sort of welcoming the fish to the parish.

“I welcomed them by putting my feet in [the water] and by using their services.”

He added: “It’s not the sort of thing you imagine a vicar doing but I’m quite different to the church’s last vicar that was here.

“I’m full of character and a bit of an extrovert.

“I’m new to the parish as I have only been here six months and so I want people to see me as approachable and a bit of a laugh and not at all stuffy.”

The 45-year-old describes the sensation of the fish pedicure he had at the salon in Petts Wood Road, Petts Wood, as being like lots of air bubbles hitting the feet.

He says it was a really relaxing sensation and added: “I will go back to have them done again, maybe not in my full cassock but I will definitely go back.”

Unique owner Heidi Goodall said: “He seemed quite into reinventing the church and I think he’s going about it in the right way.”