DOG walkers have been warned to avoid letting their pets off the lead near a beck after it was contaminated.

The Environment Agency (EA) is investigating how Nelly Burdon’s Beck near Eaglescliffe, Stockton, was polluted with what is believed to be kerosene, which has caused yellow discoloration.

Jon Shelley from the EA said: “Our officers attended the site on Wednesday afternoon, and again on Thursday, and have installed booms to prevent what is believed to be kerosene from spreading any further downstream.

“We have identified the source of the pollution, and are confident that the leak has been stopped. However, some of the kerosene has already made its way into the River Tees, and around 2,500 fish have been killed in Nelly Burdon’s beck.”

Environmental health officers from Stockton Borough Council have installed signs warning that dog walkers should not allow their pets to drink the water.

Stockton South MP James Wharton said: “Residents should be reassured that this is not chromium pollution from the nearby plant but a different problem. The Council is erecting warnings and the Environment Agency will be clearing the pollution but dog walkers in particular need to take care whilst that work is done.”

Anyone who has any information about this or any future pollution incidents is urged to call the Environment Agency’s Incident Hotline number on 0800 807060.