Police urge 'no flood tourists' in Somerset Levels

  • 2 February 2014
  • From the section Somerset
Media captionA crowd gathered as the River Parrett on the Somerset Levels burst its banks

Police have urged "floods tourists" to stay away from the Somerset Levels as five flood warnings remain in place across the county.

The warnings from the Environment Agency cover the River Yeo between Yeovil and Langport and the River Parrett at Westover Trading Estate.

The Parrett burst its banks at Burrowbridge due to the high tide.

Police said those wanting to see the floods put themselves and the emergency services at risk.

The Environment Agency said it was running pumps 24 hours a day to drain water from the Somerset Levels.

Image caption The River Parrett is expected to burst its banks again later

Four extra high volume pumps have also been requested from other fire and rescue services across the country to join the eight pumps already in operation.

Avon and Somerset Police said police horses would be deployed to the levels "as part of our continuing effort to help and reassure residents affected by the floods".

They said they would also be increasing the number of patrols following a theft of about 600 gallons of domestic heating oil from a farm in Moorland overnight between 31 January and 1 February.

A force spokesman added: "We're asking people not to be flood tourists and not to travel to the Somerset Levels if they don't have a legitimate reason.

"It can hamper the work of the various agencies here, and can actually put people in danger."

Image caption The all-terrain vehicles will be able to access flooded areas too shallow for boats

Members of the armed forces are on stand-by to help villages in Somerset cut off by the floods.

Two "army-style" vehicles, which can be used to transport people and supplies, have been sent by Staffordshire firm Leavesley International.

Somerset County Council said the Swedish-made all-terrain BV206's would become "more involved" when other forms of transport, such as the current boat service, became "unfeasible".

South Western Ambulance Service have said a public access defibrillator is to be installed at the church hall in the village of Muchelney, which remains cut off since the flooding started about four weeks ago.

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