UK floods: thieves try to steal vital pumping equipment and flood defences

15 November 2019, 08:36

The flood water at Fishlake, in Doncaster, South Yorkshire
The flood water at Fishlake, in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Thieves have attempted to steal pumping equipment that is being used to help victims of flooding in South Yorkshire.

The Environment Agency has said attempts had been made to steal their equipment. The environment agency’s North Yorkshire area manager Martin Christmas said that criminals had tried to steal pumps and pallet barriers.

“Anyone out there who sees anything suspicious, please contact police,” he said in a video posted online.

Stricken communities in central and northern England are expected to be hit again as more heavy rain is expected to fall overnight.

This morning there were 121 flood warnings in place. Almost 50mm of rain fell near Tal-y-Maes, Wales, in the 24 hours to Thursday evening, and the 49.6mm recorded in Brecknockshire was almost matched by Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, which saw 48.8mm over the same period.

Rescuers pull a boat through floodwater in Fishlake, Doncaster
Rescuers pull a boat through floodwater in Fishlake, Doncaster. Picture: PA

Steven Keates, forecaster at the Met Office, said rain was falling from Humberside, down to Devon and Cornwall, and when asked for Thursday night's outlook, said: "Here we go again.

"The same as what we had a week ago, persistent rain across that central part of the UK, falling on already saturated ground."

The rain arrived alongside cold temperatures in some place, as parts of the South West of England did not manage to climb above two degrees on Thursday, but floodwater remains the primary concern.

Mr Keates added: "There is a mix of snow in there, but it's not causing any major problems.

"It's all about the rain."

Machines were pumping 2.5 tonnes of water per second out of the Yorkshire village of Fishlake, according to the Environment Agency, as British Army soldiers helped reinforce flood defences.

Meanwhile, emergency services across England warned people to be careful and not drive through deep floodwater as rivers continued to swell.

More than 800 properties have been affected by the floodwaters so far, and people have been evacuated in Bentley and Fishlake.

Another Government Cobra meeting was held on Thursday evening to co-ordinate the ongoing relief.

The leaders of councils in Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Bassetlaw and Kirklees have written to communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, warning of "considerable and lasting damage" and urging more funding to help them cope with future flooding, the Guardian reported.

One woman found her bus ride was interrupted on Thursday afternoon as black floodwater streamed into the vehicle, near Lydney in Gloucestershire.

Stacey Gunter, from Bream, said: "All the water rushed up through the door as we went through the floodwaters.

"It was kind of nervous laughter all around. Poor old ladies couldn't get their feet off the ground quick enough."