Norfolk’s legendary Cut-Off Channel is under threat of pollution from a major fire.

Flames tore through a scrapyard at West Dereham, near Downham Market, on Thursday afternoon.

EA officials feared run-off from firefighters’ hoses could carry noxious chemicals into the Cut-Off, which flows behind the scrapyard.

Firefighters fought the blaze through the night, as drainage experts tried to work out how to prevent run-off from entering the Channel.

The biggest fear is that oil and chemicals from junked vehicles on the site could enter watercourses.

Mike Grief, secretary of King’s Lynn Angling Association, said: “We’re worried but the EA are down there doing what they can to help us.”

So far this summer, the Cut-Off has produced tench and bream nets topping 200lbs and stretches around the scene of the fire are noted winter predator fisheries.

A plume of black smoke could be seen from 20 miles away across the Fens as 10 fire crews battled to contain the blaze, while a police helicopter sent live video footage of the seat of the fire to a mobile emergency control room.

Fire chiefs warned people living downwind from the fire to keep doors and windows closed and stay in their homes.