People in Grimsby and Cleethorpes were more than alarmed when a test of flood warning sirens took place at 19 sites in North East Lincolnshire.

More than 25,000 households in the area are protected by the sirens and despite an message saying it was a test local told the Environment Agency (EA) they were ‘distressed’ by the test.

The warning followed an announcement that it was a test which said: “Testing, testing. This is a test of the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Flood Warning System. No action required. No action required.”

After a short pause residents then heard: “This is a severe flood warning from the Environment Agency. There is extreme danger. Listen to local radio. Contact Floodline. Listen to local radio. Contact Floodline. Act now.”

The EA’s flood incident management team leader, Leigh Edlin, said: “The sirens are usually only sounded when there is a severe danger from flooding to life and property.

“We need to test them at this time of year to make sure they are working properly before the wet winter weather sets in. They have to be tested individually to identify any problems.

“This year, we also had to test a new flood warning message to make it clear what people need to do to protect themselves and their families.

“We understand this may have caused some distress if anyone missed the test announcement and would like to apologise if this was the case. We would also like to thank people for their co-operation on the day.”

All 18 tidal flood sirens in the towns, and one which warns of flooding from the River Freshney on Grimsby’s Willows Estate, were sounded on 19 and 20 August and were found to be working correctly.

Luke Walsh

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