POLICE have urged members of the public keen to view the flooding in North Yorkshire to keep away from dangerous, fast flowing water.
North Yorkshire Police tonight issued a statement about the ongoing flood relief effort in the Ryedale area of the county, where water levels on the River Derwent remain high.
Teams from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Ryedale District Council, North Yorkshire County Council, the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency are taking part in the operation, which is being co-ordinated by North Yorkshire Police.
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County Bridge, which spans the river between Malton and Norton, remains closed due to the rising water.
Engineers from North Yorkshire County Council are monitoring the situation, but are said to be satisfied that the structure can withstand the current and predicted water levels.
High volume pumps have been deployed at Malton, Old Malton and Norton to help alleviate the flood defences and stabilise the flow of water.
A number of roads are still closed, and motorists are being urged to follow the designated diversion routes.
People are also being asked to keep well away from floods and fast flowing water.
Groups of onlookers have been congregating where the pumping work is taking place.
Police cordons have been placed in the areas of most concern to maximise public safety and prevent any disruption to the emergency effort.
Inspector Andy Everitt, of the Malton Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The safety of the public and our staff is the top priority during this operation.
“It is vitally important that people keep away from places where there is dangerous, fast-flowing water. Please keep out of areas that have been cordoned off by the police. We simply want to ensure that people remain safe from harm.
“Also, the workers from the emergency services and agencies assisting the operation should be left to do their job without any disruption or distraction from onlooking members of the public. Again, please keep away from these areas.
“We greatly appreciate the patience and understanding that has been shown by local people.“
Insp Everitt added: “The sheer effort, professionalism and team work displayed by all the agencies involved in the flood relief operation in Ryedale, has been impressive.
“By working together to form a co-ordinated emergency response, each agency has played a critical role in protecting our communities from the very real danger and destruction that flooding can bring.
“Whilst the situation remains challenging with the River Derwent expected to be running high over the coming days, residents and local businesses can be reassured that we are doing everything in our power to protect them and their property.
"Our collective aim is a return to normality as soon as possible.”