'Marooned' sheep and drivers rescued as flooding strikes across Lancashire and River Ribble bursts banks at Preston

Firefighters spent two hours rescuing a flock of 170 sheep from rising flood water after the River Ribble burst its banks in Preston.

Heavy rainfall across Lancashire led to flooding in various parts of the county, with reports of drivers having to be rescued from cars after getting stranded.

A number of flood warnings were in place around the county as emergency services warned residents to take care.

Just before 4pm on Saturday, fire crews – one each from Penwortham and Bamber Bridge – were called to a field on Preston New Road, at Samlesbury, where 170 sheep had been cut off by flood water.

A fire service spokesman said: “The incident involved 170 sheep who were marooned on an island surrounded by rising flood water.

“Two swift water rescue technicians assisted the farmer in moving the sheep to higher ground which involved closing the road. Crews were at the scene for two hours.”

The River Ribble burst its banks in Walton-le-Dale and the Ribble Valley.

Emergency services warned residents to be careful and observe road closures wherever they are in force.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service shared one such message on Twitter, adding: “We have already had to rescue people trapped in vehicles this afternoon (Saturday).”

Whalley and Waddington suffered localised issues of flooding, and Sawley Road was closed after the river burst its banks.

Warnings were also in place for the River Ribble at Walton-le-Dale, the area from Fishwick Bottoms to Railway Bridge, as well as at Samlesbury, around Brockholes Reserve and Lower Brockholes Quarry.

The Flooding Information Service said: “Due to the rising levels of the River Ribble, flooding of property and roads and farmland is expected or possible between 2pm until the evening.

“Flooding is affecting Fishwick Bottoms area on the north bank of the River Ribble upstream of Walton Bridge. Properties on the South bank of the Ribble between the Darwen Confluence and the Railway Bridge including the sewage works and Catholic College playing fields.

“It is also affecting Brockholes Reserve and businesses based at Lower Brockholes Quarry in Samlesbury. Further heavy rainfall is forecast over the next several hours.

“We expect river levels to remain until this evening. We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are checking defences. Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses.”