THE homes of elderly and vulnerable residents in Cricklade have been left devastated by floodwaters, after the region was hit by severe weather last week.

Oliver Cleary, of Byre Close, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and his wife Sheila is awaiting a major knee operation. The couple had been living at the property for just eight weeks when the flooding occurred.

He said they had decided to move house to make life easier. “We are both in ill health,” he said. “My wife fell down the stairs, so we decided to move to somewhere more manageable, but now we have to suffer this.”

The couple’s home was filled with four inches of water. “The house was flooded right through,” he said. “The flooring and carpets have been completely ruined.”

Oliver immediately alerted the fire and rescue service, who arrived within 30 minutes and pumped the water out within two hours.

He said he did not realise the property had flooded in the past. “No one told us the house had flooded before. This is the last thing we expected,” he said. “I’m so worried it will happen again, I can’t even relax in my own home.”

Neighbour Peter Corbett said he had been shocked by the flooding. “My wife noticed a puddle on the floor and as we watched, the water came under the skirting boards and crept across the carpet,” he said. “Within 10 minutes, the whole house was underwater.”

He added his attempts to stop the water were futile. “We tried to mop it up with towels, but in the end we gave up and just watched it,” he said. “It was horrible, it got into the bedroom and filled the wardrobe.”

The property is managed by Bromford Homes, who provided sandbags and a dehumidifier, but Jean Corbett said this was not enough. “It was too little too late,” she added. “It was a case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted.”

Wiltshire councillor Peter Colmer (Cons, Cricklade and Latton) said the rain had been unprecedented. “The emergency services have responded very well,” he said. “Compared to some areas, Cricklade has come off lightly, but we can not afford to get complacent.”