A large number of fish have been found dead in a borough reservoir amid drainage work being carried out due to flooding concerns.

The Environment Agency (EA) has been working with the owners of Withins Reservoir to drain the site and fish have been removed from the water as part of the process.

But locals have noticed a vast number of dead fish in the area this week with pictures shared on social media.

One resident counted many dead bream, skimmers and roach, and a pike.

Bury Times: Dead fish spotted at Withins ReservoirDead fish spotted at Withins Reservoir (Image: Christopher James Doyle)

One resident, who saw the works happening, said: “The little Elton Reservoir has been drained.

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“I spoke to someone who told me that they have taken all the fish out and they are to be sold.

“I asked how they took the fish out and was told they put an electrode in the water which stuns all the fish, and they all float up to the top.”

An EA spokesperson said: “Officers from the EA have been working with the private owner of Withins Reservoir for several months to offer advice and guidance around flood risk.

“The decision to order the drainage of the reservoir was taken by our national reservoir safety team in the interest of public safety and to reduce flood risk to neighbouring properties and business.”

Regarding the dead fish around the reservoir, the EA said: "We are concerned about this but unfortunately while we're empowered to ask for the reservoir to be drained for safety reasons, which is what we did, it's up to the owners of the reservoir to responsibly deal with the fish stock.

"This doesn't mean we're not concerned, it's just we're not empowered in this area."

The reservoir owner has been contacted for a comment about the situation.

Bury Times: Withins Reservoir now empty Withins Reservoir now empty (Image: Christopher James Doyle)

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There had been some speculation that the drainage work was linked to plans for building works on Elton Reservoir by Peel Holdings.

The plans hope to provide 3,500 family and affordable homes in the area.

However, Peel confirmed it does not own Withins Reservoir and are not responsible for the draining.

A spokesperson said: “These works are not related to Peel’s future development plans for the Elton Reservoir allocation in the emerging Places for Everyone Plan, which remain at an early stage of the planning process."