FLOODED villagers should not fear becoming a victim of crime while their homes stand empty.

That is the message from Avon and Somerset Police, which says only eight crimes have been reported within the whole of the flood areas over the last seven weeks.

Officers have been wading through moorlands to carry out regular property checks while they have also been working with the RNLI and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue to ensure 24 hour patrols.

Chief inspector Jeff Foreman said: “So far we have been delighted to see a real sense of community spirit between residents, people are really looking out for each other and there have been very few crimes. But we aren't complacent and will work hard to ensure this continues.

“We are currently, and will continue to, review patrol plans regularly to ensure our resources are where they need to be and to proactively and pre-emptively deal with any issues.

“We will continue to coordinate the various services and partner agencies into an efficient response to support those who are victims of the floods and to ensure they don't become victims of crime.”

Residents have been issued with passes and several checkpoints are in operation to ensure that only those with a legitimate reason to be travelling into the evacuated areas are admitted.

Officers are out in boats checking people's oil tanks to recover and make safe any affected by the flooding. Anyone working on this part of the operation will be in uniform or able to provide ID.

If you own an oil tank or would like to report one that is damaged, call the Environment Agency incident number 0800 807 060

If you need to contact police, email floodinginsomerset@avonandsomerset.police.uk or call 101.