TWO men have been arrested this morning (Tuesday) in connection with the deaths of more than 80 birds at a popular beauty spot.

The pair, aged 35 and 27, were questioned by officers from the Met Police Wildlife Crime Unit following the discovery of the bodies of dozens of crows, coots and other species in the area around Alexandra Lake, Aldersbrook, since last Tuesday (March 9).

A German Shepherd dog also died after being taken on a walk near the pond, fuelling fears among local residents and park users that the creatures had been deliberately poisoned.

Both of the men were arrested in the Forest Gate area on suspicion of breaching pesticide control regulations and taken to an east London police station.

A police spokesman said: "Despite today's arrests, analysis of samples taken from the scene last week has not yet been completed by the Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA) and it is too early to confirm the animals' cause of death.

"All of them died in the area around Alexandra Lake on Wanstead Flats, Aldersbrook Road, or after spending time in the vicinity soon before their deaths.

"Officers are working with counterparts from Natural England and City of London Forest Keepers in an attempt to establish the circumstances of the deaths.

"The land around the lake remains cordoned off and dog walkers are requested to keep their pets on a lead in the surrounding area for their own protection.

"The dog that died was a five-year-old male German Shepherd cross, while several species of birds were killed including geese, pigeons and coots."