OIL pollution on the river Kennet was investigated on Tuesday after the smell of petrol alerted residents to the spill.

The rainbow effect of oil on water was visible from the river bank at Kennet Place in Marlborough as residents called the Environmental Agency and Thames Water to report the incident.

The oil was quickly washed away due to the fast flow of the river however Action for the River Kennet has warned of the dangerous effects that oil can have on the environment.

Charlotte Hitchmough, director of ARK said; “A responsible business will always have a spill kit on site but members of the public might not.

“It’s a stark reminder that storm drains flow straight to the river. Washing oil spills away simply pushes the problem into the environment, harming our rivers. It is really important to isolate the hazardous material using saw dust cat litter or sand.

“The main risk of oil or petrol on the river is to birds as it gets in their feathers and can be very damaging.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “We’ve been working closely with the Environment Agency since Tuesday, following reports of oil entering the River Kennet, near Marlborough.

“We quickly set up booms and have used specialist equipment to thoroughly clean the outfall pipe to protect the river.

“The source of the pollution is still being investigated, with the focus on nearby commercial premises.”

A spokesman from the Environment Agency added:"On 13 February 2018, the Environment Agency received reports of oil pollution from a Thames Water outfall into the River Kennet, Wiltshire. The source and cause of the pollution has not yet been confirmed and we are continuing investigations.

"We have not found any impacts on wildlife or water quality."

Ms Hitchmough added that and it is not yet known if any prosecutions will be made and urged anyone who has spotted a spill to call the Environmental Agency on 0800 807060 and Thames Water 0800 3169800.