England

Coastal communities in Devon and Cornwall flooded

Salcombe Image copyright RNLI
Image caption High tide overwhelmed the waterfront at Salcombe, south Devon

Coastal towns in south-west England have been left flooded after being hit by strong winds, large waves and a high tide.

The Environment Agency earlier warned of extreme danger on the Cornish coast and issued a severe flood warning.

Elsewhere in England, a woman died in Sussex after being carried out to sea by strong currents on Saturday.

On the Somerset Levels, police said flood-hit villages were being targeted by thieves.

About 600 gallons of domestic heating oil was reported stolen from a farm in the Somerset village of Moorland and two fire service quad bikes were taken from nearby Burrowbridge.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Owen Paterson has said the government will spend an extra £100,000 a week to pump water from Somerset's flood-ravaged areas.

About £100,000 a week is currently being spent on pumping operations on the moors and levels.

Mr Paterson said 21 properties remained flooded and 200 people were still cut off in the villages of Muchelney, Thorney, Oath, Stathe and North Moor on Monday afternoon.

Severe flood warnings are in force along the River Severn, while further heavy rainfall could see flooding for much of south-west and southern England.

The River Severn in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, the Frome and Avon in Dorset, the River Thames and its tributaries in Oxfordshire, west Berkshire, Reading, Slough and Hampshire, and the Medway in Kent could all be affected, the Environment Agency said.

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Media captionAmateur and BBC footage shows the strength of the waves off Devon

A new Floodline number - 0345 9881188 - is also being publicised after complaints callers were being charged up to 41p a minute to call an Environment Agency 0845 premium rate helpline, with the money going to a private firm.

Calls to 03 numbers cost between 0p-10p per minute from landlines and 10p-40p from mobiles.

In Cornwall, places flooded include Looe, Fowey, Newlyn, Porthleven and Mevagissey. Devonport in Plymouth and Kingsbridge, Devon, have also been flooded.

Looe harbourmaster Geoff Penhaligon reported "lots of water in the main street and behind the market" which was "too deep for a car".

Dale Clark, harbourmaster on the Isles of Scilly, which are about 28 miles (45km) south west of Cornwall, said there had been flooding of some properties.

BBC Cornwall reporter Johnny O'Shea said the sea off Penzance was "incredibly rough, crashing along the sea wall".

Image copyright Barbican Waterfront
Image caption Tinside Lido on Plymouth Hoe has been almost submerged by the sea
Image caption The sea wall in Newquay has been damaged by the high tide and large waves
Image caption Waves have been crashing over Teignmouth seafront in Devon
Image copyright Rebecca Anthony
Image caption Waves also hit seafront buildings in Exmouth

Geoff Brown, Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for homes and communities, said the seafront in Penzance was closed "because of the concern of debris being thrown by waves on to the road".

"Clearly there's a severe amount of coastal damage and we need a clear weather window to start repairs," he added.

Fowey harbourmaster Paul Thomas said he had been "splashing around" in flood water in his office.

"I think the properties that regularly flood in Fowey would have had it worse this time," he said.

"There's only so much you can do - sandbags, storm guards and just lift your valuables off the ground. That's just the nature of living on the coast."

Image caption Only the pilings were showing at one point where East Looe Quay ends and the river begins
Image caption Roads were also flooded in Kingsbridge in Devon

In Seaton in Cornwall, Nicki Barry - who owns the beach cafe that was flooded twice in January - said her business had been protected by a new sandbank.

Ms Barry said a Cornwall Council digger created the bank to protect the road and it helped protect the cafe.

In Devon, flooding was reported in Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Exmouth.

Earlier, only one of three Torpoint Ferry vessels - which connect Devon and Cornwall - was in service because of severe flooding at Devonport, Plymouth.

Rail services were suspended between Penzance and St Erth on Monday morning due to flooding, First Great Western (FGW) said. They were restarted later.

FGW added that services between Exeter St Davids and Newton Abbot were cancelled until 5 February because of "damage caused by poor weather" and Stagecoach buses were accepting its tickets.

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Media captionSurfers have been making the most of tidal surges through the centre of Bude in Cornwall

On Saturday, six fishermen were rescued after their boat foundered in "treacherous" conditions off the north Cornish coast.

An RNAS Culdrose helicopter winched five of the crew from the sea, while the sixth was rescued by lifeboat.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: "We will take a decision about potentially salvaging the vessel when the weather conditions improve.

"We estimate that around 30% of the vessel has already broken up due to the bad weather."

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Media captionLooe was flooded after being hit by strong winds, large waves and a high tide

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