River poisoned

URGENT investigations are taking place today to find the person who polluted a stream running through a popular Felixstowe park, threatening its wildlife.

URGENT investigations are taking place today to find the person who polluted a stream running through a popular Felixstowe park, threatening its wildlife.

Families using the park and living close by it have been left disgusted after what is believed to be petrol or diesel was spotted in the water

Environment Agency and Anglian Water officials have teamed up to try to track down the culprit – and today warned they would prosecute if they find out who caused the pollution.

They first received reports from residents on Monday about the state of the stream running through Langer Park.

Geoffrey Pearman, of nearby Marina Gardens, said the slick appeared to be of a petroleum type and had a sheen or film on top of the water.

"It is disgusting and awful to think that someone has done this. I think it is getting worse, too, and that the pollution is still arriving from somewhere upstream," he said.

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"Wildlife rely on that little piece of water. I have been feeding two families of moorhens on there for the last nine months but now they have vanished.

"It could be that they have just abandoned the area because of the pollution and I just hope they are not lying dead somewhere. Blackbirds and thrushes also drink from the water and feed on the plants on the banks."

Another walker said: "The smell is horrible – gardens back onto the stream, too, and it is a good job it is not summer when people would be outside more."

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said officers had visited the site and put down absorbency pads near the bridge over the water to try to soak up the chemical and a boom to stop it passing any further downstream.

Some had been collected and sent away for analysis and a full investigation had been launched to find out where it had come from.

"It could have come through the surface water drainage system and may have come off the soil or off the road. Anglian Water have been helping with the clean up and will be lifting drain covers to help find the source," she said.

Rain was expected to make the situation worse by washing more down but it was believed about two gallons of the chemical had so far entered the stream.

"We are investigating and if we find out who did this we will prosecute. Anyone who knows anything can call us and we will treat the information as confidential," added the spokeswoman.

The waterway is believed to be the remnant of a navigable stream which once ran from the marshland where Felixstowe port was built. A century ago portworkers would row their boats up the stream to the Ordnance Hotel to spend their pay.

n People with information call the Environment Agency's manned 24-hour hotline on 0800 807060.

N What do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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