A flock of swans had to be rescued in Kingston after oil and diesel from a bus fire in the Market Place spilt into the Hogsmill River.

Birds covered with the black mixture were seen being placed into protective bags and taken away by workers from the Swan Sanctuary, which is based in Shepperton.

WATCH: Double-decker bus engulfed in flames after catching fire in Kingston's Market Place

A double-decker bus had caught fire this morning, engulfing the back of the bus and causing the road to be covered with sand by workers to stop a suspected diesel spillage.

But Cristina Spinks said she was walking along the Hogsmill just hours later when she saw Swan Sanctuary workers pulling the dishevelled birds from the river.

She said: “I was walking along the bank and the diesel had landed into the water and they’ve been rescuing the swans.

“The swans are very black but not dead. A few swans are going to be suffering now.

“They carried away eight but there were 20 still waiting. They were still white but the black is still on their feathers. The people were saying it’s from the diesel.”

Dorothy Beeson, founder of the Swan Sanctuary, said 16 swans had been transferred to them this afternoon.

She said: “It’s not as bad as we first thought. It was a big bus fire and whatever oil and diesel mixed I presumed just spilt as the fire caught hold of the bus.

“We’ll let them get over the journey and the capture first. We’ve got a lot of new young cygnets in the flock and will wondering what’s happening to them.”

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: “Firefighters worked hard to bring the fire under control quickly.

“As a result of the fire, diesel spilt into the roadway and firefighters used sand and drain mats to try and prevent diesel spilling into the drains.

“The duty of care was left with the Metropolitan Police Service.”

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said: “We are aware of this and our officers are down there on the site, working with our partners to deal with consequences of that.

“The swans are not our responsibility. We’re going to be making sure that’s mitigated and prevent further pollution.”