AN organisation which highlighted the alarming decline in water vole numbers is to publish a detailed report into their plight later this year.

The Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) compiles research from naturalists all over the country, including a number in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

VWT researchers carried out two surveys in 1989-90 and 1996-1998, which revealed that the long-term decline throughout the 20th Century had developed into a serious population "crash".

Among regions experiencing the biggest drops were North Yorkshire, where water voles disappeared from 97 per cent of their known sites, and the North-East, which recorded figures only a little better.

Later this year, the trust will publish a more detailed analysis of its research, which has blamed loss of riverbank habitat, the impact of agriculture and attacks by mink for the dramatic decline.