Swans rescued from polluted Shinewater Lake in Sussex

image captionVolunteers have rescued swans from the polluted Shinewater Lake in Eastbourne

Animal welfare volunteers have been rescuing birds from an East Sussex lake following a major sewage leak.

The East Sussex Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service (WRAS) said so far four swans had been taken to safety from Shinewater Lake in Eastbourne.

The Environment Agency (EA) said a large amount of sewage from Polegate entered the lake on Wednesday. It has launched a criminal investigation.

WRAS's Trevor Weeks said it was an "environmental disaster".

'Horrendous incident'

He said: "Its not just the swans and fish which are affected.

"Badgers, foxes and other mammals which use the streams as drinking water will also be affected."

The EA and Southern Water have been at the lake non-stop since Wednesday after the incident was first reported by members of the public.

The EA has the power to undertake criminal investigations under the Environmental Protection Act.

Mr Weeks added: "This is a horrendous incident and I hope whoever is responsible for this environmental disaster is held accountable."

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