Raoul Moat tourists 'endangering flood-prone village'

Ghouls visiting the scene of killer gunman Raoul Moat's last stand were blamed today for putting villagers' lives in danger.

Gawkers at the riverside spot in Rothbury, Northumberland, have repeatedly left open a metal flap at the front of a culvert where the murderer is thought to have hidden during his final days after going on the run from Northumbria Police.



Environment Agency officials said the solid steel barrier, at the front of the Coplish Burn, was a vital part of the village's flood defences.



If the flap was left open during a flood, 28 businesses and eight residential properties would be deluged.



Rothbury was hit by severe flooding in September 2008 and in July last year when the River Coquet burst its banks, submerging bridges and a children's play park.



Steven Bridgett, Northumberland County councillor for the village, said he had seen people climbing inside the culvert to pose for photographs.



Mr Bridgett, who is a flood warden for the village, said: "The culvert lid is there to stop the village being flooded. The storm drain pumps storm water from one of the burns which runs down from the hill underneath the village and into the river.



"If the river floods and the lid is open then the flow of water is reversed and directed into the centre of the village, which is very bad news.



"We have had severe problems with flooding in the past and do not want a repeat.



"The drain lid is just five metres away from where Moat died.



"People have been coming down and lifting up the storm drain lid and actually climbing inside and taking pictures.



"We have had pensioners, families; a lot of people.



"Nobody in Rothbury wants that site to be remembered or for people to be there at all.



"What bothers me more is that the lid is solid metal.



"It is very, very heavy and if it fell on someone they would die.



"It is extremely dangerous."



Environment Agency operations delivery team leader Paul Constantine said he was receiving repeated reports the flap was being left open by people visiting the site.



Agency officials must visit the site to close the flap following each report.



He said: "Leaving the flap open at this culvert in Rothbury is dangerous.



"It would cause terrible damage to properties and endanger people's lives in Rothbury if it were left open during a flood event.



"We are appealing for whoever is doing this to stop putting people, homes, and businesses in Rothbury at risk."



The flap is a key part of the village's flood defences as it prevents water from the Coquet flowing back through the culvert into the centre of the village when the river is high.



The Environment Agency spent £385,000 to create the flood defence in September last year.



Former nightclub doorman Moat, 37, sparked a huge manhunt after shooting his ex-lover Sam Stobbart, 22, in Birtley, Gateshead, and killing her new boyfriend, 29-year-old karate instructor Chris Brown.



The next day he targeted Pc David Rathband, 42, blinding the father-of-two as he was on static patrol on an A1 roundabout in Newcastle.



Northumbria Police has extended bail until the first week in November for the 17 people arrested in July on suspicion of helping the gunman during his time on the run.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Technicians - Prestige Brand

£22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A passionate and experienced Head Chef i...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 Drivers

£31700 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist wholesaler owned and man...

Recruitment Genius: Laser and Router Operative

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Laser and Router Operative is...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones