1:17 am, Fri 01 Feb 2013
Credit: John Giles/PA Archive/Press Association Images
Hundreds of seabirds have been washed up on the south west coast, covered in an unidentified sticky substance and causing the RSPCA being called to the rescue.
Guillemots have been found along the Dorset and Devon coast between Weymouth and Torquay. Many have sore legs and are covered in a greasy film.
The birds are being transported to the RSPCA's West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset, where efforts are being made to clean them. Early signs are that they are not responding well.
5:19 pm, Thu 31 Jan 2013
An RSPCA manager has said it is "too early" to assess how successful the organisation's attempts to help the 100 guillemots washed up on the south west coast will be.
Peter Venn, RSPCA West Hatch manager, said:
The numbers of birds arriving in to our centre are growing and we are doing all we can to help them - but it is too early to tell how successful these attempts will be.
We do not know what this substance is or where it has come from yet but we do know it is not fuel. It may be bi-product from manufacture, but at this stage we just do not know.
We would urge anyone who finds any of these birds to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.
There are also reports of the sticky substance washing up on the beach, so we would urge people walking their dogs in the area to also be careful.
– Peter Venn, RSPCA West Hatch manager