Councils warn flood householders to beware bogus official

The councils in Croydon and Tandridge, which covers flood-affected Whyteleafe, have issued warnings to home-owners to beware a bogus official operating in the area.

Around 60 firefighters were on duty in Kenley today, after an entire week's efforts to keep the local water treatment works free of flooding

Around 60 firefighters were on duty in Kenley today, after an entire week’s efforts to pump flood water away from the local water treatment works

While council officials were distributing advice letters to flood-threatened houses in Kenley and Whyteleafe yesterday, they became aware that a man may have been impersonating their staff. It is widely assumed that this may be a ruse to gain access to people’s vulnerable homes.

Tandridge’s warning was issued this morning, while Croydon posted this message on its website this afternoon: “There is a bogus official in the area handing out leaflets. Staff from Croydon Council, Tandridge District Council, Surrey County Council, the Police and the Environment Agency all have ID – please ask to see it if anyone knocks on your door.”

Tonight marks a full week since the fire brigade has been on site at Kenley, pumping more than 5,000 gallons a minute away from the water treatment works after the council had declared the area a “Major Incident”. The water works supplies water to 47,000 properties.

Today, there have been eight fire engines and 60 firefighters at the scene, using three high volume pumps – half of all of these type of pumps in the London Fire Brigade. The fire service stated today that “The Brigade anticipates remaining on site over the next two days…. Dedicated support crews are working tirelessly to protect the waterworks from flooding.”

Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Firefighters have been working very hard throughout the last few days to pump water away from the facility and protect it from flooding. The waterworks supplies tens of thousands of homes in the area so our crews are working extremely hard to bring this incident to a quick and safe conclusion.”

But all that water needs to go somewhere.

Further down the A22 at Whyteleafe, the road has been impassable through flooding for more than a week

Further down the A22 at Whyteleafe, the road has been impassable through flooding for more than a week

After creating the Purley Pond in a pedestrian underpass at Purley Cross at the weekend, on Tuesday night work began to create two more overflow ponds, in the playing field of a primary school and church car park. But water from the Caterham Bourne had managed to overflow so much that homes in Dale Road, at the Purley end of Godstone Road, had to be evacuated as their street quickly turned into a lake.

Following the evacuation of a care home on Tuesday, with its residents being accommodated at the council’s headquarters building in the town centre, attended by Red Cross emergency workers, on Wednesday the residents in two blocks of flats in Dale Road were asked if they wanted to leave their homes, while nine homes on Foxley Hill Road were evacuated today.

Some Dale Road residents have complained that their road had been “sacrificed” as another overflow pond for water pumped away from the treatment centre.

  • To report rising groundwater levels or flooding, residents are asked to call the Environment Agency Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 600800 80 70 60. You can also sign up to the free groundwater Flood Alert/Warning service by calling Floodline on 0845 988 11880845 988 1188.

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