AN investigation by the Environment Agency has not been able to uncover the reason behind the deaths of 'hundreds' of fish in a tributary of the River Tyne in Northumberland.

Staff from the EA launched the inquiry after walkers spotted the dead fish in the Park Burn at Prudhoe Riverside in February and reported the issue. Northumbrian Water also attended the scene.

Tests by the water board identified 'discolouration' of river water from a 'culverted water source' not belonging to NWL, with tests finding that the pollution did not come from any of their sites. The discolouration was reported to the EA.

Now, three months after the incident, the EA has confirmed it has completed its investigation.

A spokesperson for the agency said: “Our officers responded swiftly to the fish kill at Prudhoe. We have now reviewed the results from the water samples collected and they do not show any signs of pollution of the water.

“Unfortunately, it would appear that any pollution that may have been present had passed through by the time we received the report and conducted our investigation. Although not able to establish a source, we have taken the opportunity to visit various sites in the local area and provide advice to residents which we hope will benefit the local environment by preventing future incidents.

“If anyone suspects a pollution incident, they should contact our 24-hour incident hotline at 0800 80 70 60. Timely reports with detailed information are essential for effective investigations.”

Park Burn flows into the Tyne after passing the chalk heaps known as the Spetchells, via the Low Prudhoe Industrial Estate. Councillor Gordon Stewart, who represents the Prudhoe South ward on Northumberland County Council, called on residents to be vigilant.

He said: “Such incidents should be taken seriously and reported as a matter of urgency to the Environment Agency. We have many wonderful open spaces around our county and I ask the public to be vigilant.”