The knock-on effects of a diesel theft on Thetford’s wildlife are being felt after the RSPCA and Environment Agency tackled the fallout.
Thirty ducks, geese and swans in the River Thet and Little Ouse had to be rescued by RSPCA officers after thousands of litres of fuel were spilled in a bungled theft last Monday morning.
The birds have been taken to the charity’s East Winch wildlife centre for clean up.
Craig Plumley, RSPCA animal collection officer, said: “The largest number of affected birds are mute swans, but there are a number of Canada geese and two mallards now at East Winch.
“Diesel can do so much damage to these poor birds.
“Unfortunately, three of the six signets we rescued have had to be put to sleep because they had swallowed so much of the fuel and so has one of the Canada geese.”
The Environment Agency and police have yet to officially state the pollution came directly from the theft.
However, a police spokesman did confirm that diesel was seen pouring into drains after the theft from Coach Services, on Howlett Way.
A spokesman for Anglian Water said the fuel could have then quickly made its way into the rivers through the sewerage system.
The Environment Agency have been monitoring the rivers all week, with six booms installed over the weekend to absorb the fuel.