Birds have left floating on the surface of a creek after contracting deadly disease.

Residents and dog walkers were left shuddering at the sight of the dead and paralysed birds near Stannets Creek, Paglesham near Rochford.

The settling pool, run by Anglian Water, has been overrun with Avian Botulism - a paralytic disease particularly harmful to birds.

Maggie Collier, from Rochford, said: “I walked my dog over Stannets Creek several weeks ago and noticed a lot of dead birds.

"It was very upsetting. Some were still alive but seemed paralysed so could only move their neck.

“I reported these to the relevant authorities, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Anglian Water as they manage the sewage plant that feeds into the lagoon and then out to the River Crouch.

“I was contacted by RSPB and Anglian Water to say they were looking into it. After being told someone would contact me to advise what the cause of the dead birds was, no one did.

“It was only because my brother was walking over there recently and noticed a sign up advising it was Avian Botulism that was affecting the birds and killing them off. I haven’t been back over there since.”

Avian Botulism is naturally occurring in bird populations and is not suggested to have arisen as a result of the water facility at the creek.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said: “We are aware that some birds in the area around Stannetts Creek have become ill and unfortunately some have died. We’ve worked closely with the Animal and Plant Health Agency and the local RSPCA and the disease has been identified as a strain of Avian Botulism.

“The exact source of the disease hasn’t been confirmed, but our staff are regularly checking the area and removing any birds that may appear distressed or have died. This helps to minimize the spread of the bacteria, which is the main cause of the disease.”

DEFRA confirmed that their role is to receive the dead birds for testing and provide support for those leading the investigation.

They also encourage members of the public to report dead wild waterfowl, swans, geese or ducks, or other dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459335577.