FLOOD warnings have been issued for the River Gipping in Suffolk and the River Colne in Essex after heavy overnight rainfall.

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The water courses are among 22 in East Anglia that the Environment Agency is concerned about.

The Gipping is the only river in Suffolk for which there is a flood warning in place. Levels have been reported to be “very high” in Stowmarket, while the Environment Agency is concerned about areas near the A14 and between Needham Market and Bramford.

Pictures from reader Alan Baldry indicate it has burst its banks at Claydon and Bramford.

Meanwhile motorists are being warned to avoid Low Road, Debenham, near the junction with the High Street, because of flooding.

In Essex there are warnings for: River Colne (Halstead to Lexden; Castle Hedingham to Halstead); River Brain (Black Notley to Witham); riverside properties near Essex cricket ground in Chelmsford; and the River Wid at Ingatestone.

The weather is expected to be mainly dry in the region for much of Sunday, before another band of rain sweeps in overnight and into Monday morning.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service (ECFRS) said it had been hit with a deluge of flood-related calls.

A spokesman said: “Control Operators are having to explain to a number of callers that fire crews can only be mobilised to flooding incidents where there is a danger to people or life risk. The service cannot assist unless water looks set to enter a property.”

Crews have also helped rescue stranded motorists at notorious flood black spots, such as Borehams Lane, Danbury, near Chelmsford

Neil Fenwick, divisional officer at ECFRS said: “It is astonishing just how many motorists have driven their car into flood water and need our help to get themselves, and often their families, out of their predicament. If you can’t see how deep the water is, don’t drive through it, it’s as simple as that.

“Every time there is flooding the Service has to rescue people who have driven their cars into flood water. We will rescue people but it is down to a recovery service to get the vehicles out, so motorists should only call the emergency services if there is life risk or danger to people trapped.

“When faced with water drivers should exercise a little common sense. It may take a bit longer, but find an alternative route. If there is no way round, park safely and get out to check the depth of the water before you drive into it.

“Just driving into water and hoping for the best is not an option, by the time you find out the water is too deep you are already trapped.”

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