RESIDENTS are rallying round to save wildlife at the troubled Pymmes Park boating lake where more than 20 ducks were found dead over the weekend.

The group tried desperately to save the dying birds at the polluted spot after the council ignored the residents' initial cries for help which began on Thursday morning.

Residents who use the park regularly claim the authority refused permission to send the park ranger out in a boat to collect the poisoned birds because they were afraid of infection.

This forced resident Linda Banham to swing into action and she took a boat out herself to reach the dying ducks and rushed them off to the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service at Trent Park.

The council eventually permitted the removal of the birds on Friday when Barry Smitherman of the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service was called in.

Mr Smitherman found 20 dead birds but managed to save five ducks and four Canada geese who are recovering well.

Enfield Council, which recently carried out a £535,000 clean-up operation on the lake, were unable to confirm what caused the birds' deaths but insisted regular checks were being carried out.

Fears were that sewage, pumped into the lake for some time through misconnected pipes from nearby homes, could have caused the problem.

However it is possible the birds and even some squirrels, were killed by bottulism poisoning which occurs naturally in water during long hot periods.

Semi-retired Jim Cassidy, 57, of Cavendish Road said: "People don't seem to know what is going on.

"I have visited the spot daily for the past 15 years and the lake never smelt until the council recently de-silted it. We were all terribly distressed when we saw what had happened. It is a complete mystery."

Residents Theresa Lefley along with Linda Banham and others are now planning on creating posters to draw attention to the problem.

They are also visiting the spot daily to keep a check on the remaining birds.

Mrs Lefley said: "A lot of people don't realise there is a problem now the birds have been removed. But there must have been a health and safety risk if the council wouldn't go anywhere near them. It is just so annoying that the council does not seem that interested."

A council spokeswoman said checks made on the lake caused the delay in reaching the birds. The dead have been taken to the Cambridge Pet Cemetery in Royston.

She said: "We are keeping a careful watch on the quality of water on the lake."

Thames Water said it had restricted the flow of surface water into the lake to avoid further pollution and Edmonton MP Andy Love is due to meet representatives next week in Westminster to address the problem.