TROOPS from the Army, RAF and Royal Navy have been called into service in Warrington - to assess flood defences across the town.

The Environment Agency has called in soldiers to carry out an ‘urgent inspection’ of flood defences amid concerns they have been damaged by the recent severe weather.

Matt Crump, EA Operations Manager, said: “The defences need to be inspected to ensure they remain in good working order, and so that we can develop a programme of repairs if required.

“Support was requested from the Ministry of Defence to ensure the task is completed as quickly as possible.

“The military personnel have been trained by our asset inspectors and will work with them over the next six weeks to support the assessment.”

The operation, which started last week, is being carried out across the north west.

Mark Francois, minister for the Armed Forces, said: “We are proud to be able to make a contribution and will remain on hand to provide assistance for as long as we are required.”

The decision to call in the military has been criticised by residents.

Bill Shaw, of Woodstock Gardens, Appleton, was at Poulton Park Golf Club on Friday when an RAF serviceman visited.

Mr Shaw said: “He spoke to the steward and told him that he needed some information relating to the water courses that cross the course.

“I found it incredulous that we should be using such a highly skilled resource in such a haphazard way.

“I am amazed the public are having to pay again to address such issues because the responsible authorities seem incapable of doing their day jobs.”