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Whaley Bridge: Police lives being 'put at risk' by residents refusing to leaving homes

Photo: ITV

There's a warning from Derbyshire Police that people who are going back into their homes to pick up essentials and failing to return to the check point are putting officers lives at risk.

Yesterday people were allowed back to their properties for 15 minutes to get their belongings amid fears the Toddbrook Dam would collapse and flood areas of Whaley Bridge.

However, a “small number” of people failed to come back outside the cordon.

Officers have had to go into the evacuation zone to check on those who failed to return. Credit: PA

Residents of 22 homes, thought to be a mix of those who have gone back to their properties and those who never left following the first evacuations on Thursday, are now refusing to leave despite police warning of a “very high” threat to life.

A senior officer said there could be “catastrophic” consequences if the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir collapses and there are people within the evacuation zone.

The officers carrying out these checks are mothers, fathers, partners and friends.

I want my officers to be able to return to their families at the end of their shifts – not be put in harm’s way.

– Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann

Deputy chief constable Rachel Swann told a residents meeting on Sunday evening that, as a result, the decision was taken to stop people returning to their homes to pick up essentials.

She said: “We’ve not evacuated this for no reason.

“We’ve evacuated this because there is real prospect the dam could fail and if it fails it is catastrophic. People would die if they if they were in that evacuation zone.

“So those people who remain in that zone are putting their lives at risk.

“They are also putting the lives of the responders, primarily the police, at risk because we have to keep going in and speaking to them and asking them to leave.”

The dam has collapsed in parts but its structural integrity is still intact. Credit: PA

Water levels at the Toddbrook Reservoir in the town have been reduced by little more than three metres, Derbyshire Police have said.

Once a satisfactory level has been reached, engineers will view the damage and decide if residents can return.

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