A severe oil spillage at a popular Sandhurst beauty spot has left 20 local swans in a vulnerable position as they recover from the incident.

On Thursday, April 30 the Environmental Agency contacted local wildlife charity, Swan Support, after the contaminated birds were found in the lake.

As the pond at Sandhurst Memorial Park was drained, the vulnerable birds were taken to the Swan Sanctuary in Datchet where they will stay to recover.

Wendy Hermon from Swan Support said: “The severity of this spillage was quite surprising and more so that there were so many swans there at the time.

“Fortunately, all the birds which we recovered are safe and well after being rescued. They will stay at the sanctuary for a few weeks in order for them to preen their feathers and recover.

“There were also three swans that flew away at the time, but they have returned to us now.”

The charity, which attends to injured swans and other birds across the Thames Valley, alerted the community and park users on social media as they were called to the park. 

Swan Support explained how the oil had negatively affected the animals which made them vulnerable and in need of time outside the water.

They said: “The oil coating their feathers will remove their waterproofing meaning they will become waterlogged resulting in them spending more time out of the water and being vulnerable to predators and dogs off leads.

“Whilst we were able to rescue the majority a couple did fly off so if they make their way back to the pond or if you see them in the area do, please call us - we are 24/7 and have rescuers nearby.

“We will also be out checking the area over the next couple of days. Due to the number rescued we have taken them to The Swan Sanctuary to be washed in their specialist unit.”

Thames Water attended Sandhurst Memorial Park after a resident made them aware of the spillage. Their engineers were informed by residents that they suspected local kids had thrown bricks in the pond to block the pipe.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “Our engineers attended the site on April 28 and discovered a pipe which flows from the pond had been blocked by bricks, which they helped to clear and they have been helping to clean the affected area. The blockage had prevented the pond from draining and this caused a build-up of oil, caused by road runoff following recent heavy rainfall, in the pond.”