Somerset floods : Thieves target victims

Mounted police deployed after heating oil and fire service quad bikes stolen

Thieves have been targeting flood victims on the Somerset Levels, police said.

Around 600 gallons of domestic heating oil was stolen from a farm in Moorland overnight from Friday to Saturday.

Two fire service quad bikes were taken from Burrowbridge on the same night.

The national police air service (NPAS) helicopter flew over the flood-hit area as a "proactive crime prevention exercise".

Police horses have also been deployed and officers will make regular patrols for a "high-visibility presence" and to reassure residents.

Read more
Britain's floods: We can save the town or the country, but not both, says Environment Agency boss
Why do we insist on building on flood plains?
Prince Charles is right about climate change  

Four extra high volume pumps requested from fire and rescue services around the country have arrived on the Levels, adding to the eight already in use.

Currently, the combined pumping across the moors is enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool every 90 seconds.

Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, of Avon and Somerset Police, who is heading the response to the floods major incident, said: "We are aware of reports in the community of suspicious people and vehicles being seen in the area, particularly after dark.

"We have also heard rumours of people being out in boats at night, but at this stage we have no information to substantiate that.

"Our message to the community is that we will do all we can to protect you and your property. I would ask everyone to be alert, to look out for your neighbours, and to call us at any time if we are needed."

Special Constables and extra neighbourhood officers from the force have been deployed to the area following thefts, believed to have occurred overnight from January 31 to February 1.

Farmer James Winslade said his home had been left without heating or hot water after thieves stole "more than half" the oil from his tank.

The humanitarian support boat operated by a crew from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service arrives from Muchelney, a village near Langport in Somerset still cut off by flood water The humanitarian support boat operated by a crew from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service arrives from Muchelney, a village near Langport in Somerset still cut off by flood water "Because they'd turned it off, that's damaged the pump so now we're without heating and waiting for an engineer," Mr Winslade told the Western Daily Press.

"The problem is that we're getting so many flooding tourists and sightseers coming down here that it's hard to keep track of who's around.

"We've had the fire and police down here a lot, too, but at night it's very isolated. Some of the homes that are empty are being targeted and they are coming across the water on boats to get to them."

On Sunday, volunteers went from house to house on the Levels to check on residents and enquire whether they had concerns or needs such as for fuel and water.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said the force was looking to help to arrange weekly community meetings, where people can ask questions and be kept up to date with developments.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has installed a public access defibrillator in the church hall in Muchelney in case of medical emergency, he said.

"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," the force spokesman added.

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

PA

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
These photographs released by the University of Maryland Medical Center show images of full face transplant recipient 37-year-old Richard Lee Norris of Hillsville, Virginia
mediaGQ front page features man who underwent full face transplant
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
News
i100
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on