RSPCA rescue centres are no longer accepting injured birds due to the risk of avian flu.

Latest Defra figures have confirmed 102 cases of bird flu in England, with two cases each in Wales and Scotland earlier this year which have since had their disease control zones revoked.

The animal charity says avian influenza has become a serious problem this summer and there are high levels of morbidity and mortality, particularly in seabirds around the coast.

RSPCA England and Wales has confirmed that its rescue centres will not take in seabirds into its branches, but officers will continue to attend reports of sick and injured birds.

A spokesman said: “Tragically, bird flu continues to spread at an alarming rate, with seabird populations worst affected.

Ilkley Gazette: Seabirds won't be taken into RSPCA branches due to the spread of avian flu recently (PA)Seabirds won't be taken into RSPCA branches due to the spread of avian flu recently (PA)

“In a bid to stop this highly contagious disease from killing hundreds of our wild patients, we have made the difficult decision to close our centres and branches to new seabird admissions.

“This includes (but is not limited to) the most common seabird species: gulls, auks, terns, cormorants, shearwaters, gannets and fulmars.

“Our animal rescue teams are continuing to attend reports of sick and injured birds.”

The RSPCA says it will try to respond to calls about sick and injured animals where possible and deal with them compassionately and appropriately.

Branches will still be able to take in other wildlife.

What happens when avian flu is found?

When avian influenza is confirmed or suspected in poultry or other captive birds, disease control zones are put in place around the infected premises to prevent the spread of the disease.

Within these zones, a range of restrictions on the movement of poultry and material associated with their keeping can apply.

There are currently two disease control zones around Bexhill and Hastings in East Sussex due to outbreaks of the illness which saw a number of birds humanely culled.

There are five other disease control zones currently in force: two in Shropshire, two in Nottinghamshire and one in Derbyshire.