A PIGEON covered in pink paint had to be rescued from a car wash.

Staff at Sparkles Car Wash in Lower Hollin Bank Street, Blackburn spotted the oddly-coloured bird and called the RSPCA.

The bird was collected on Wednesday and despite thorough cleaning, the feathers had been stained pink.

The pigeon was moved to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire for treatment and specialist care.

RSPCA inspector Nina Small, who was sent to collect the pigeon, said she had never seen anything like it in 15 years of working with charity.

She said: “He was covered in a pink, greasy paint-like substance from head to tail with only his eyes clear.

“He was in a car wash of all places, perhaps he was trying to clean himself off?

“The amount of paint coming off his body was astonishing.

“We can’t be sure whether the bird had been deliberately covered in paint or whether he’d fallen in something.

“If someone has intentionally painted the pigeon’s feathers then I’d be very concerned for other birds and animals in the area.

“This is a cruel and unnecessary thing to do to an animal and could cause health problems, impair his ability to fly and make him more vulnerable to predators.”

The RSPCA highlights dye and paints can be toxic to birds and animals.

They would be likely to try to clean any such substance from their coat or feathers which could result in them swallowing it.

Ms Small said: “Luckily this pigeon wasn’t injured and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to clean all of the paint off of his feathers and get him back to good condition so he can be released back into the wild where he belongs.

“I just hope his feathers haven’t been permanently damaged and that his flight won’t be affected, which could mean he will need to stay in care much longer before being released.”

Anyone with information should call the RSPCA on 0300 1238018.