Over 1,000 face Christmas Eve evacuation from homes over fears of mass flooding

A mass evacuation is taking place this Christmas Eve with 1,000 people forced to move out of their homes at a flooded caravan park.

Residents became trapped at Billing Aquadrome holiday park, with some suffering hypothermia, after hours of heavy rain wreaked havoc in Northampton.

Flood waters reached up to 5ft deep with freezing temperatures expected overnight, according to Northamptonshire Police.

Emergency accommodation will be offered by at least two local leisure centres as well as hotel rooms in a huge emergency operation set to launch on Christmas Eve.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesperson tweeted: “Emergency services are preparing to evacuate more than 1,000 people from 500 caravans on the Billing Aquadrome holiday park in Northampton.

“Heavy rains in Northamptonshire have left wide areas of county hit by flooding and water is as much as 5ft deep in places.

“Preparations are under way to move the occupants as the night closes in, with freezing temperatures expected in the early hours.

“Some residents have presented with hypothermia.

“Emergency accommodation is being sourced in at least two leisure centres in Northampton.”

Northamptonshire, currently in Tier 2, will move into Tier 3 from midnight on Boxing Day.

Covid restrictions were not enforced under the “exceptional circumstances” according to police.

People are being urged to leave the site immediately but not to go to the homes of people shielding or self-isolating in the pandemic.

Chief Supt Mick Stamper, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “Residents are urged to leave the site immediately and seek accommodation with family or friends where possible.

“Anyone worried that this may be put them in breach of Covid 19 regulations should be assured these are exceptional circumstances and they will be exempt.

“We would, however, urge people not to go to homes where people are shielding or self-isolating as a result of Covid.

“This is an exceptionally challenging situation and emergency services are working with partners and volunteers.”