Monday 16 October 2017

Flood-hit village seeks army help as looters target homes

A resident pumps out water from his house in Wraysbury, Berkshire
A resident pumps out water from his house in Wraysbury, Berkshire
Residents walk through flood water in Wraysbury, Berkshire
Residents walk through flood water in Wraysbury, Berkshire
Firefighters drive in a special vehicle through flooding in Wraysbury, Berkshire
Labour leader Ed Miliband (right) and Victoria Groulef (centre), Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West, during a visit to the view recent flooding in Purley on Thames in Berkshire.
A resident cycles through deep water after the river Thames flooded the village of Datchet, southern England
Water surrounds flooded properties in the village of Moorland on the Somerset Levels
Moorland, Somerset. Photo: Matty Cardy Getty
A resident cycles through deep water after the River Thames flooded the village of Datchet, England. Reuters/Eddie Keogh

James Edgar

A FLOOD-ravaged village in Berkshire in England is pleading for help from the army after looters began targeting homes of residents evacuated from the rising waters.

Colin Rayner (56), a Conservative councillor for Horton and Wraysbury, said the village had experienced looting and urged the police and army to help.

The farmer said he was told by the UK Environment Agency on Sunday that the flooding in Wraysbury was going to be worse than in 2003, and that he was to tell the residents of the village that anybody who was in a house that was flooded in 2003 should evacuate.

He said those houses would have no gas, electricity, sewerage or water for seven days.

A tearful Mr Raynor said: "I had to tell 500 shocked residents that their houses could be flooded in the next 24 hours.

"We had children crying, and people looking visibly shocked. I was quite upset, because I've never done that before.

"The government say they're helping us. I'm a Conservative councillor, come and help up us. I'm sorry Mr Cameron, but as a loyal Conservative, someone has been telling you porkies."


Mr Rayner said the army was needed to help stop looting and sightseeing – when motorists drive past houses sending waves of water towards houses.

"Looters nearly ran over a local resident this morning," he said.

Communities along the banks of the River Thames became the latest to be hit by flooding. More than a dozen severe flood warnings were issued from Datchet to Shepperton Green as river levels became extremely high.

The Berkshire village of Datchet was severely hit as flooding blocked roads and train tracks.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency warned that hundreds more properties near the River Thames could be flooded over the next two or three days amid forecasts of more rain and strong winds.

Pete Fox, flood risk manager with the agency, said: "The very latest figures suggest we have seen around 800 to 900 properties flooded since the end of last week.

"You might expect to see some hundreds of properties flooded over the course of the next two or three days."

According to the agency, southern England has had the wettest January on record, following the wettest December for 50 years. The UK Met Office has warned that the severe weather shows little chance of easing until next week.

Up to 1.5 inches of rain is expected by Friday night across many southern and western areas, but some regions, including the already flood-hit south west of England, south Wales, western Scotland and Northern Ireland could have up to 2.75 inches of rain.

Network Rail said disruption to the rail network as a result of the weather could take "some months" to resolve. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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