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Appeal after diesel spillage kills fish and costs taxpayer thousands

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An appeal for information has been issued after ducks, geese and fish were killed – with other waterfowl also having to be rescued from a pool - following a diesel spillage.

The clean-up operation at Bumble Hole Pool, at Bumble Hole Nature Reserve in Netherton, has so far cost the taxpayer more than £25,000 with investigations ongoing.

Dudley Council bosses are currently working with Severn Trent Water to try and locate the source of the spillage – and today appealed for anyone with information to come forward.

The maximum penalty for a water discharge activity offence is up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine – and chiefs have warned that those responsible could be prosecuted if caught.

The substance, believed to be mainly red diesel with traces of cooking oil, left a red substance lying on the surface of the water when it came through the surface water drainage system and a culvert into the pool on December 29.

A number of small fish were found dead on the surface while wildlife including Canada geese, swans and ducks were coated with a dark substance and rescued and treated by the RSPCA.

Five of the ducks and one goose sadly died, although the others are expected to make it through.

Contractors Veolia and Aqua Force worked on behalf of the council and with nature reserve volunteers to contain the diesel and begin to clear it.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member for public realm, said:

I hope whoever has done this is able to sleep at night. It has seen ducks, a goose and a number of small fish killed and cost the taxpayer thousands to clean up.
Without the quick actions of volunteers at the nature reserve who reported it, we could have seen an even more serious impact on the nature reserve and our wonderful local wildlife who suffered greatly as a result of this despicable act.
We are therefore very keen to find whoever is responsible for the spillage and I would urge anyone who may have any information to get in touch.
It looks like it may have been a deliberate act, and if that is the case and we find whoever is responsible we will not hesitate to prosecute through the courts.
People need to understand that the substances poured away without a thought for where it ends up can not only kill wildlife but they can also be prosecuted. Pleading ignorance will be no defence.
This is a lesson to us all to be careful what we are tipping down our drains, as often surface water from homes and the highway feeds directly into natural pools used by our wildlife.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Dudley Council Plus by emailing or calling 0300 555 2345.

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