A swan covered in cooking oil was rescued in Cobham and cleaned by the Wildlife Aid Foundation.

Oil can be fatal for wildfowl, and it is feared it had been dumped in the river, which is where the charity says the animal likely came into contact with it.

A bus driver noticed the swan struggling on the pavement of the busy A245 Stoke Road, and called the foundation’s Leatherhead hospital.

WAF founder Simon Cowell said: “When we got there, the swan had not moved and was clearly in some distress. The reason became apparent when I handled it. The poor thing was covered in cooking oil, which I suspect had been dumped in the river.

“Waterfowl and oil do not mix. Oily birds cannot preen, their feathers become matted and they lose their waterproofing.”

The swan was taken to the centre and gently cleaned with mild detergent, and released after a week on a nearby stretch of the river.