Toxic algae has killed scores of animals in a picturesque lake – and now humans are being warned to steer clear too.

About 50 animals including swans, ducks, rats and plaice have been found dead in Brooklands Lake, Lancing, after they came into contact with toxic bluegreen algae.

Animal rescue officers suspect a build-up of sediment on the lake bed has encouraged the toxic algae to grow, with the warm weather causing it to rise to the surface.

The Environment Agency carried out water sampling tests at the lake on July 29 – but the test for presence of algae came back negative.

However, another sample taken at a later date was positive for the deadly substance.

Now the Environment Agency and Worthing Borough Council is warning people to ensure they – and their animals – don’t go in the water.

A spokesperson from Worthing Borough Council said: “Contact with the water could result in symptoms like skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

“Pains in muscles and joints can occur if any users of the water have swallowed or swam through algal scum.

“Visitors are advised to seek medical help if they experience any symptoms having come into contact with the water.”

The council has erected warning signs around the lake advising visitors to avoid contact with the water and to keep animals away until further notice.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We advise people to pay close attention to the advice being issued by Worthing Borough Council as blooms of blue-green algae can be hazardous.

“We carried out water sampling of Brooklands Lake following the recent death of a number of ducks and swans.

“Members of the public are asked to report any incidents of pollution or wildlife in distress to our 24 emergency hotline on 0800 807060.”

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