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Swainby hit by flash floods
EFFORTS by villagers to try to hold back a swollen river proved fruitless as they were overwhelmed by flood waters.
Swainby, near Northallerton , North Yorkshire was one of several communities in the area badly hit by flash floods on Tuesday evening.
Water poured down one of the back roads into the village from surrounding fells and then Swainby Beck burst its banks, flooding about a dozen properties.
One resident, Bod Sutcliffe, a builder, drove his digger into the beck in an attempt to clear branches that had become stuck against the footbridge, causing it to back up.
He was asked to get out of the river by police, who feared for his safety.
Shortly afterwards, the beck broke its banks. North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service sent their Swift Water Response Team to remove the branches.
Mr Sutcliffe’s wife, Kelly, said: “He’d gone down in his digger to see if there was anything he could do to remove the debris where the river was blocked, because there were branches stuck under the bridge.
“But the police said that they didn’t want anybody in the river for safety reasons.”
Shortly before the beck broke its banks, streets behind the high street were submerged under several feet of water, as rainwater poured off the nearby hills.
Mrs Sutcliffe said: “The water reached up to the bonnet of my 4X4.
“There was a lady who lives at the top of Swainby and it had reached up to her windows and was going into the house.
“There was another person farther up towards Osmotherley who had just ploughed their field, so they were hit by a torrent of mud.” Police have thanked the public for their help and praised the fire service and local authorities.
North Yorkshire County Council and Hambleton District Council supplied residents with sandbags and helped close roads.
Chief Superintendent Ali Higgins, from North Yorkshire Police, said: “I am grateful for the rapid response and support given by colleagues from the other emergency services and councils and would also like to thank the members of the public at the scene for their help and the community spirit they showed to help fellow villagers.”