Swan left covered in diesel after park pollution

A swan was covered in diesel in a pollution incident
A swan was covered in diesel in a pollution incident

A swan has had to be rescued after becoming covered in diesel following pollution of a park pond.

And there are now fears that ducks and other birds in the park could also be harmed.

A pollution alert was first sounded 10 days ago when a diesel leak was reported in Nightingale Road, Horsham, and red diesel ended up contaminating the pond in nearby Horsham Park.

The pond was temporarily closed off while Horsham District Council worked with officers from the Environment Agency and Southern Water to try to combat the problem.

But a call for help was sounded on Thursday when a male swan was spotted in trouble by the pond. And there were fears today that another swan could also have been affected.

John Potts, of the Copthorne-based Swans and Friends Bird Rescue group, rushed to the scene when the alert was first sounded on Thursday.

“The water was absolutely grey. It was terrible,” he said. “I picked the swan up and took him to the car park where we had parked the ambulance. In that time the diesel had soaked into my coat, through to my jumper and onto my T-shirt. It was that bad. It was so sad.”

The stricken bird has been taken to a swan sanctuary at Shepperton for treatment.

Meanwhile John fears for other birds living around the pond and urged people to feed them with corn or wholemeal bread.

“People say don’t feed them bread, but it will help them,” he said.

Meanwhile, he called for a ‘separator’ to be installed in the pond - which he described as ‘the most contaminated pond around’.

He said a separator would help filter the water with oil going to the top and dirt sinking to the bottom.

The stricken male swan has been living alone at the park since its mate and cygnet mysteriously disappeared in June last year. But there were reports today of another swan having been seen there ‘looking in distress.’