Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is urging local communities to take precautions against possible flooding.

With rain likely in the coming days, and much of the recent snowfall still to melt, there is a real risk of surface water flooding.

In November last year, the service was called to help hundreds of people whose homes and businesses had been affected by water coming off the roads and fields.

Station Mmnager Dave Geddes said: “Wiltshire and Swindon have already experienced flooding problems this winter, and we know that the water table is extremely high.

"Any significant rainfall, combined with the snow melting, could be an issue, especially in areas that have been hit before. One of the main causes of surface water flooding is blocked drains – so we would encourage communities to help themselves, where safe and where possible, and clear drain grills on their local roads, so that any excess water can be carried away.”

Residents are also encouraged to help make sure the gulleys are clear in quiet roads and cul de sacs.

Severely blocked drains on main roads should be reported as soon as possible to the local authority – either Wiltshire Council on 0800 232323 or Swindon Borough Council on 01793 445501.

Mr Geddes said: “We certainly don’t want people trying to lift drain grills, but It only takes a few minutes to sweep away leaves and debris and maybe use a rod or stick to ensure that there is no immediate blockage beneath the grill.

"Such a simple thing could make a huge difference to whether or not a road floods. If every community helps itself like this, we will hopefully have less emergency calls to deal with in the coming weeks.”

Owners of premises that are adjacent to streams or rivers that flood on a regular basis are also advised to ensure they have a stock of suitable sandbags, or other flood prevention devices, to protect their homes should the river levels rise.