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Flaming tar barrel spectacle in Devon town

Thousands of people descended on Ottery St Mary in Devon on Bonfire Night to watch a tradition that dates back to the 17th century.

Barrels soaked in tar are set alight and carried through the town on the shoulders of residents.

You would have thought that this event would be history in this health and safety conscious age but it happens every year. Take a look:

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Tar barrels take to the streets of Ottery St Mary

Don't try this at home! Credit: ITV News

The centuries old tradition of running burning tar barrels though the streets of Ottery St Mary was celebrated last night, 5 November.

Organisers say they're determined to keep the tradition alive despite obvious health and safety concerns.

It means a lot for the town. It brings in a lot of revenue but it keeps the town as a separate identity. There's nothing else like it in the whole world so we're intending to keep it going for the future generations.

We never sit back on our laurels. We keep working harder each year to make sure it keeps going on the same format.

– David Strawbridge, Organiser

Video: Environment Secretary visits Ottery St Mary

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman visited the region today to look at some of the places affected by yesterday's floods.

Ottery St Mary, near Exeter, saw some of its main roads turn into rivers after a month's worth of rain fell in just 24 hours.

The town has seen previous devastating floods and has since had a number of flood defences put in place.

Ms Spelman talked to people about how effective these measures were during Saturday's heavy rain.

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