DUMPED household or leaking agricultural chemicals are being blamed for pollution which is killing fish in a beck running through Burley-in-Wharfedale.

The Environment Agency has investigated the deaths of fish in Carr Beck, which runs through the village, and confirmed that they had all been poisoned.

There are fears the pollution could have been the result of chemicals being poured down a drain or running off agricultural land. The alarm was raised by a concerned allotment holder.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "We don't know at the moment what has caused the fish kill, but from time to time these things can happen because of agricultural run-off or a drain in the area.

"The officer dealing with it did look further upstream and it looked fine. The fish were fine and the water was clear so not all of the beck was affected."

Burley resident Phil Tomlinson first raised the alarm about water pollution ear-lier this month, when Tommy, a giant two-pound trout disappeared from his usual spot in the beck.

Mr Tomlinson, of Grange Field Avenue, has owned an allotment next to the beck for five years and has always enjoyed watching the fish on his lunchtime stroll.

This Spring, however, he noticed that fish had disappeared and said the water had a greyish tinge to it.

The Environment Agency had previously suspected a predator such as an otter had killed the fish.

But over the past week Mr Tomlinson has found three dead fish, including a ten-inch trout, floating at the lower end of the beck.

"They have obviously been poisoned," he said. "It is not a predator attack. It is a shame that the fish have been killed, but worse than that is the fact that children and dogs play in the stream."

Mr Tomlinson alerted the authorities and fished the dead trout out and put it in his freezer so it could be tested.

He said the officer he spoke to seemed to think someone flushing chemicals down the drain had most likely caused the poisoning.

However, no water samples were taken and the officer told him he didn't need to take the trout for tests.

"The officer said there was nothing he could do unless someone knew who had done it and reported them or they could catch them doing it,"said Mr Tomlinson.

"How will they know who is responsible so it doesn't happen again?

"I was a bit cheesed off because it seemed like they were just paying lip service to an in-vestigation."

Mr Tomlinson said he was sure that no gardeners would be discarding toxic substances so thoughtlessly, but he is concerned the water is still greyish and that there is no wildlife in the beck near the village.

The Environment Agency spokesman said the beck should clear on its own: "We didn't carry out any tests because it was a very small scale incident and we unfortunately have limited resources.

"Small incidents like this will happen maybe once or twice a year, and all we can do is raise awareness.

"It is in a residential area with a complex network of drains, so we would ask people to be vigilant about washing out containers that have had chemicals in them."