INCIDENTS involving animals and plastic are at an all-time high, say the RSPCA.

The animal welfare charity says it has recorded more than 270 incidents in the South East involving plastics between 2015 and 2018.

Across the UK it has recorded a rise in incidents from 473 in 2015 to 579 in 2018.

In the south east, there were 56 incidents involving plastic litter in 2015, but last year (2018) that rose to 77.

The latest data also reveals that animals which live in the water affected disproportionately.

There has been a fourfold rise in seals affected by incidents involving plastic litter with 28 recorded across England and Wales in 2018 compared to just five in 2015.

Plastic litter is also a particular problem for certain water birds, with incidents involving geese rising from 37 to 70 and swans rising from 40 to 48 across England and Wales during that same four-year period.

RSPCA Head of Wildlife, Adam Grogan said: “Every year, the RSPCA deals with increasing numbers of mammals, birds and reptiles that have become entangled or affected in some way by discarded plastic.

"From seals with deep infected wounds caused by plastic frisbees cutting into their necks, to swans and geese trapped in fishing line or netting, plastic is clearly having an increasing impact on animal welfare.

“Our latest data sadly reflects the wider litter crisis taking place right now across the globe and action is urgently needed. It’s up to every one of us to do our bit in the war against litter.”

The dangers of plastics in the oceans was brought to the attention of millions by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series.