STOCKPILES of sandbags are to be created across Hambleton district as parish councils are urged to help protect residents in vulnerable location.

Septembers flooding saw officers from Hambleton District Council issue almost 4,000 sandbags – but some areas were inaccessible because of the freak conditions.

To help parishes be prepared for future floods the authority wants to create stores of sandbags in key locations – it will provide the bags free of charge if there is a suitable area to keep them dry.

The parish of Kirby Wiske is the only parish in Hambleton that currently has a sandbag store – set up after the village had suffered from flooding in 2000.

“Having a store doesn’t cost anything,” said Paul Staines, Hambleton's operations manger. “The sandbags come on pallets and with a waterproof cover - all the parish has to do is find a space to put them.

"This is a very simple way to be prepared for flooding and I would urge other communities to do the same.”

Sandbags can be kept for re-use if stored off the ground - and covered with sunlight and water resistant material.

Parishes wanting to create a store should contact Paul Staines on 01609-788103.

During an emergency local residents can collect up to ten bags to help them protect their property from the leisure centres in Bedale, Thirsk and Stokesley; from the Galtres Centre in Easingwold; and from the council deport in Northallerton.