'It is so scary' - Fire breaks out by oil spill on river near Falmouth

The oil spill has travelled down the River Helford Credit: Sadie Hodgeson

Residents in Cornwall say they are living in fear after a fire broke out metres away from an oil spill along the Helford River near Falmouth.

The oil spill is classed by the Environment Agency as a 'category one' incident - its most severe level.

The spill is believed to have spread in the waters around Porthnavas in Cornwall.

But there have been reports that people have been lighting bonfires next to the river and along the streets, with the oil spill increasing the chances that the fire could spread.

A bonfire was started in a tree stump right next to the river Credit: Sadie Hodgeson

On Sunday (August 14), a fire broke out near the river - and the oil spill - sparking fear among residents.

Sadie Hodgeson, a nearby resident, said: "I live in a village with only one access route and these fires are all along that route.

"With all the advice around not having BBQs and bonfires in this weather, it just seems like people are being ignorant. It is so scary".

Signs have been put up to warn people about not swimming in the water however there are claims they are being ignored.

"I feel that the people on the beaches are not respecting the fact that this is a serious incident and they should not be swimming in the water, as they definitely are, I've witnessed it," Sadie added.

"I think it's because it doesn't actually look that bad, you can smell it but it's hard to stop people going in who have come specifically to swim in the water."

National Trust rangers have been warning people that they should not swim and are urging them to respect the signs.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We are responding to a pollution incident on the River Helford near the village of Porthnavas in Cornwall.

"We believe the pollutant to be diesel and are working with partners to reduce impacts on wildlife and the environment."