A police investigation is underway in Hadleigh after three sluice gates were illegally opened sparking fears that this weekend's duck and raft race may not be able to go ahead.

The investigation was launched after the mill gates in Hadleigh were opened and the item used to control the gates stolen on Wednesday.

There has been much controversy around the river level in the town, after a series of flood incidents since Storm Babet in October, and the Environment Agency closed the gates in April.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “The Environment Agency has permissive powers to operate and maintain the mill gates and closed the gates on Monday May 13, 2024.

"We were notified by a member of the public on June 5, 2024, that the gates had been opened by an unknown party, and equipment stolen. 

“This has been reported to the police and the gates were closed again by the Environment Agency on June 6, 2024.”

Concerns had been raised about the river level, with many residents taking to local Facebook groups to express their worries.

Now that the gates have been closed it is hoped river levels will return to where they were and this weekend's Hadleigh Duck and Raft race will be able to  go ahead as planned.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Constabulary said: “We received a report to police on June 6. It was reported that over the last few days someone had opened three of the sluice gates causing the water level to drop and stolen an item used to control the gate.

“Anyone with information should contact police quoting CAD 127 of June 6.”

Hadleigh Duck and Raft Race is due to take place along the River Brett on Sunday from 10am.