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Last Updated: Wednesday October 07 2009 06:51 GMT

Deadly chemical leak in UK river

Chemical leak in River Trent

People are being warned to stay away from the River Trent in Staffordshire, after it was polluted with the deadly cyanide chemical and raw sewage.

The leak has killed thousands of fish in a 30-mile stretch of the water, between Stoke-on-Trent and the village of Yoxall, and is expected to spread.

The Environment Agency is investigating the leak and trying to control it.

Farmers, anglers and boaters are being warned that water should not be taken out of the river "for any reason".

Andrew Marsh, from Severn Trent Water, said a leak of cyanide, which had not been caused by the company, had knocked out a water treatment plant which led to the sewage leak.

An investigation has been launched to find the source of the pollution

The pollution is expected to reach Burton on Trent by late afternoon on Wednesday, by which point the Environment Agency said the risk to the public should be reduced.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the RSPCA animal charity said it was sending a team to the area as it expected "quite a big clean-up operation".

"For those people with livestock we would remind them to get them away from the area as safely as possible," they said.