Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 14:30 UK

Oil kills under-threat crayfish

White-clawed crayfish
Investigators are trying to pin-point the source of the oil spill

Hundreds of a protected species of crayfish have been killed by an oil spill in a south Cumbrian river.

The Environment Agency said 300 white-clawed crayfish, were wiped out after oil got into a tributary of the River Kent, near Staveley, a week ago.

Officials were alerted by a woman who spotted oil on her dog's paws.

They are trying to identify the source of the spill and want to speak to the owner of a white van that was parked on the verge of the A591 on 24 July.

Freshwater shrimp have also been killed by the pollution.

Jim Ratcliffe, environment management team leader said: "This has had a significant impact on crayfish stocks in the tributary.

"Crayfish are a protected species and we work hard to look after them and their habitats.

"We want to work with the public, for further information about this incident."

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