A water company has come under fire over a lack of updates to more than 1,000 people who have been ordered to boil their water after bacteria was found in supplies.

Residents in the affected Yorkshire Dales towns say there has been confusion over when and where bottled water might be available and a lack of updated information on how long the situation will last.

People living in the area around Hawes, Gayle, Appersett and Askrigg were ordered to boil water after bacteria was discovered. Yorkshire Water said the order was made, on Saturday (November 4), as a precaution after routine sampling revealed higher levels of bacteria.

A spokesperson said on Saturday: "We regularly check our drinking water to make sure it meets our high standards and during routine tests we’ve found low levels of bacteria in samples taken at our High Shaw water treatment works near Hawes.

"While we investigate this, as a precaution we’re advising that customers in Hawes, Gayle, Appersett and Askrigg, DL8-3 postcodes, to boil their water before drinking or using it for cooking.

"We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause, but we’re taking the precautionary approach to keep everyone safe. We’re directly notifying the residents who are impacted, providing bottled water to vulnerable customers."

They said sampling was to continue over the weekend and added that the order will remain in place until investigations are complete and any issues rectified.

But chair of Hawes Parish Council, Councillor Jill McMullen, said: "I think the community are a little disappointed there has been little information about the problem and when it may be resolved.

"There were letters put through doors advising to boil water and some areas did have bottled water dropped off but there was no updates or advise on where the drop offs were.

"We appreciate finding the problem, if there is one, is most important but regular updates would be helpful."

Some residents have also been asking whether compensation will be paid by Yorkshire Water for the inconvenience and costs in having to boil water.

A spokesperson for the company said information is available at  https://www.yorkshirewater.com/incidents/hawes-dl8/

The spokesperson added that bottled water is available for vulnerable customers, with supplies to about 50 properties over the weekend, and compensation would be dealt with on a case by case basis.

In the meantime they advise until further notice all tap water should be boiled for drinking, cleaning teeth and preparing foods which will be eaten uncooked such as salads. Tap water should be boiled for a few seconds and stored in clean, covered containers in a cool place for a maximum of 24 hours.

Water for babies’ feeds should be boiled, and allowed to cool, immediately before use.

Boiling is sufficient protection, there is no need to use bottled water.

Tap water can still be used for washing, bathing, toilet flushing, and washing dishes.