AN inquiry has begun at a Scottish leather works after effluent spilled into a burn and reportedly killed fish for miles downstream.

It is the second time in five years that the Locher Burn in Renfrewshire has suffered a major and damaging pollution incident.

Following the last serious accident in 1992, when the stream was contaminated by an acid spill, management at the tannery accepted blame, paid #5500 compensation to local anglers, and improved safety procedures.

In the latest incident, contractors involved in site preparation work for a building extension, are believed to have fractured a pipe with a digger.

The seepage which followed killed young trout and salmon as well as eels and, according to anglers, left the entire stretch of burn from the company's Locher Works, at Bridge of Weir, to the River Gryffe, ''dead''.

Officials from the Lower Clyde Bailiffs' Association and biologists from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency have been at the scene to assess the damage.

It is feared the River Gryffe, where salmon and sea trout are regularly caught, could also have been seriously affected.

Locher Burn is seen as one of Renfrewshire's most important salmon spawning grounds.