AN investigation has been launched after hundreds of dead fish were spotted in a river close to a Bolton reservoir.

The dead fish were found by Gary Fleming, from Ramsbottom, in Bradshaw Brook, near Bolton on Sunday while he was walking in the area with a friend.

Mr Fleming said he found the scene disturbing, and that he could clearly see dead fish floating in the water.

He said: “They were fresh, someone has dumped something there poisonous and powerful enough to kill all the fish in there.

“I saw about 60 dead fish on the surface, but there was some water that was so deep that you couldn’t see. There could have been hundreds.

“I got to the bottom of Jumbles reservoir and there was about a mile of water strewn with dead fish.

“I was walking along and thought this is so disturbing, even spooky.”

Bradshaw Brook connects the Wayoh and Jumbles reservoirs, which are used by United Utilities to provide homes across north Manchester with non-drinking water.

They are also connected to three other reservoirs, including the Turton and Entwistle reservoir.

A spokesman for United Utilities said the incident was initially reported on Friday, and that a joint investigation between themselves and the Environment Agency is continuing into the cause of the incident.

He said: “The incident was reported to us on Friday, and we are now working with the Environment Agency to help find out what caused this, but at the moment we don’t know.”

An Environment Agency Spokesperson added: “After receiving reports of fish in distress at Bradshaw Brook, our Fisheries officers attended the site.

“On arrival, they found hundreds of fish dead in the water. Investigations to determine the cause of this incident are ongoing.”

The Environment Agency are urging anyone who sees signs of fish in distress to call their incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.