HUGE mounds of white foam, thought to be soap suds, have appeared on a river, sparking concerns for thousands of fish.

There have been reports of the detergent-like foam along the River Skerne, in Darlington, as well as in Demon's Beck, in Newton Aycliffe, which is a tributary of the river.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said this afternoon that it is thought to have been caused by the major fire at Newton Aycliffe.

It is understood to have come from shampoo and other products being stored at the warehouse operated by Stiller's.

The incident has raised concerns about the welfare of 20,000 fish which the EAcy put into the river last week, as detergents can be potentially lethal to wildlife.

However, the EA have had no reports of dead fish yet and it is hoped forecasted rain tonight will help wash away the detergent.

One Darlington resident, who did not want to be named, said: "It can't be doing much good for the fish. It looks to me like it is soap or detergent."