Residents in Dawlish have been allowed to return to their homes nine hours after a major gas leak triggered an evacuation.

Dozens of homes and businesses were evacuated on Monday (February 4) morning after a gas leak was detected in Brunswick Place in the town centre.

Emergency services declared the gas leak to be a “critical incident” and quickly established a 200 metre cordon.

People were temporarily housed in a nearby community centre, and there were fears they would have to find alternative accommodation for the night.

But engineers from Wales & West Utilities, who have been on site since this morning, have now confirmed the leak has been repaired - meaning residents can return home.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said: “We have been working in the Brunswick Place area of Dawlish this afternoon to repair a leak on a gas pipe running beneath the road. Our engineers have now repaired the leak made the area safe.

“As a precaution, the emergency services closed Brunswick Place and evacuated nearby properties while we were working. These roads can now reopen and people can return to their homes and businesses.

The gas leak was detected in Brunswick Place. Credit: ITV News West Country

“We’d like to thank the public for its patience while we completed this essential work. We appreciate that this situation was not ideal, but it was important that we fix this leak now, in order to keep people safe and continue to provide a safe and reliable supply of gas to homes and businesses.

"If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night."