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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 June 2007, 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Bridge collapse severs gas main
The collapsed bridge in Ludlow
Residents were forced to leave their homes after the flood
A bridge has collapsed in Shropshire after a river burst its banks.

The River Corve rose 1.6m in three hours causing the Burway Bridge in Ludlow to give way, severing a gas main and leading to homes being evacuated.

West Mercia Police said street lights also fell into the river causing several small explosions.

Transco has made the gas situation safe and homes are being safety checked before residents can return. Some homes are still flooded.

Nine schools were forced to close and fire crews said they had attended more than 300 incidents. A woman in the Shifnal area was burgled after being flooded.

Rosetta Darwood, who lives on Beech Drive in Shifnal where many people were deluged with up to a foot of water in their homes, said the burglars had caused her more misery.

No injuries

During power cuts because of the flooding, the offenders cut the lock on her back gate and stole a plasma television and DVD recorder.

More than 70 people were rescued from towns and villages across the county, a spokesman said.

West Mercia Police said residents in Ludlow were taken to a nearby leisure centre after the bridge, which is on Coronation Avenue, collapsed at about 0300 BST.

Coracle in Much Wenlock
One man and his coracle in Much Wenlock. Pic by Howard Horsley

"It's a main bridge into the town centre," a police spokesman said.

Later, as water levels fell, residents began to return home.

Claire Tickton, 29, said some of the things damaged were important to her and impossible to replace.

"The water started coming under the door yesterday, and we tried to lift things up onto shelves out of its way, but the water just kept rising and rising."

The Environment Agency said a severe flood warning on the River Teme has been downgraded.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum said its sites in Coalbrookdale are closed for the day. The council offices in Ludlow are also closed and officials are asking the public to only call them in an emergency.

A number of roads are still affected by the flooding, according to Shropshire Country Council.


Have you been affected by the bad weather? You can send your pictures and moving footage to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124.

When taking photos or filming please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
No-one was injured but 20 homes were evacuated



SEE ALSO
Flood watches issued after rain
25 Jun 07 |  Shropshire
Floods shut part of steam railway
22 Jun 07 |  Hereford/Worcs
Floods prompt council tax refusal
21 Jun 07 |  Shropshire
Experts predict more heavy rain
18 Jun 07 |  West Midlands
Flood warnings across the region
17 Jun 07 |  West Midlands

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