Image: Isle Of Wight Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre

The discovery on the Isle of Wight and in Sussex of four dead sea birds, plus more live ones, all coated in a “thick oily” substance is sparking pollution fears.

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Six live birds are being cared for after they were found coated in an unidentified substance at beaches including Bonchurch, Shanklin and Yaverland.

Ventnor Coastguard says it has informed its Duty Pollution Team, although an inspection has so far failed to discover what substance might be.

Razorbills, guillemots and gannets have all been affected. Rescuers believe that a palm oil-like substance may be to blame.

A number of the birds are being looked after by the Isle of Wight Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre Mr ‘Wally’ Awol and Friends.

If you are walking on the Island’s beaches this morning (Sunday), you are asked to look for more affected birds and report them to the National Maritime Coastguard Agency, on 02392 552100. Deceased birds should be removed and reported, so investigations can be carried out, says the Isle of Wight Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre, and it suggests keeping a box with you.

(Video: Isle of Wight Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre)