AN INVESTIGATION is under way after a Lake District beck was left 'decimated' by pollution.

A contractor for the Graythwaite Estate said the majority of Cunsey Beck had been affected.

"Every single fish you can see is just belly-up on the bottom," he said yesterday.

"We were just walking the river this morning.

"We are seeing herons and kingfishers, all the bird life just sitting on the perches thinking 'what am I going to eat today?'"

Cunsey Beck runs for around two miles between Esthwaite Water and Windermere, and travels through the Graythwaite Estate.

The man said the pollution in it was first spotted on Tuesday.

He said the 'murky', polluted water was discharging from the beck into Windermere, and expressed concerns for the wildlife, swimmers and watersports enthusiasts who used the lake.

He was exasperated by the response of authorities to what he felt was a 'major disaster'.

"The Environment Agency (EA) must be doing their best but there does seem to be a real shortage of environmental help," he said.

"This kind of thing doesn't happen often."

Jim Ratcliffe, EA area duty manager, said EA officers were investigating following 'reports of around 200 dead fish being seen in the water'.

“Specialists are carrying out a full investigation to find the source of the pollution and to minimise the environmental impact," he said.

“Members of the public with any information about this or any other potential pollution incident are asked to contact the EA’s 24/7 incident hotline on 0800 8070 60.”

A United Utilities spokesman said: “The EA has confirmed to us that this issue has not been caused by our operations. People may have seen our engineers in the area because the EA asked us to help them investigate.”

The EA said it would not be commenting while investigations were ongoing.