Community Payback team rescues Devon village from potential flood

Offenders completing Community Payback activity have rescued a small hamlet on Dartmoor from being transformed into a quagmire.

The offenders cleared huge amounts of mud and debris as well as cutting back overgrown greenery from a rural road near Buckfastleigh in Devon as part of Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company’s (DDC CRC) longstanding partnership with Devon Highways.

Local residents had become increasingly frustrated after heavy rainfall and overflow from the fields above the village had caused the roads and paths to become awash with water and mud, making them almost impassable.

Community Payback supervisor Russ Bammens said: “Accretions of mud and other debris was clearly obstructing the channels that are designed to ensure the free flow of water. In some places overgrowth such as brambles, nettles, overhanging tree branches and so on was blocking access to the channels which meant that a cutting and clearing job would be needed before we would be able to dig out the channels.”

The team carried out the work during another day of inclement weather, giving them first-hand experience of the levels of disruption caused to villagers. At one point a local councillor for the area came out of his house specifically to thank the group for their efforts.

Russ added: “The water was very deep in places and clearly causing problems, forcing traffic to slow down and passers-by to hop around flowing water. Despite wearing waterproofs we all got very wet on that day. It was great to get the positive feedback from the councillor and some other passers-by. This type of feedback really motivates service users.”

DDC CRC has been working with Devon Highways – which manages the largest county road network in the UK – for more than two years.

The partnership work has intensified over the last year, with Community Payback groups working right across the county to keep the road network as clear as possible.