Church Street and St Nicholas Street residents and businesses woke up to water and raw sewage starting to flood roads and their properties this morning.

After several phone calls trying to get hold of someone to deal with the situation and residents on Derwent Terrace setting up their usual self help pumping scheme as water lapped at their doorsteps, the team from North Yorkshire Council established that the pumps on both sides of County Bridge had been deliberately switched off.

Mayor of Norton and flood campaigner Di Keal, said: “I am amazed that anyone could be so stupid and callous to do such a thing. The pumps are there for a reason - to protect people’s property and livelihoods and to switch them off as a prank is unbelievable.

“I am appealing to people not to tamper with the pumps and if they see anyone doing so to report them to the police. I am also calling on North Yorkshire Council to make sure the pumps are securely locked so that this cannot happen again.

“The distress that it causes to people who are repeatedly affected by flooding in this area of Norton is huge - Yorkshire Water needs to stop falling back on its ‘temporary pump plan’ and install a permanent solution without further delay. The plans are in place already they just need to invest in it.”

Cllr Keane Duncan said: "This totally reckless and selfish behaviour put properties in Norton and Malton at serious risk of flooding, sparking unnecessary panic and anguish for our community.

“It is only because of swift action to switch the pumps back on this morning that damage to homes and businesses was averted. This could have been devastating.

“We’ve alerted North Yorkshire Police, who will be patrolling the area and reviewing nearby CCTV to identify those responsible. Meanwhile, pumps will be locked down from today to ensure they cannot be tampered with.

“Agencies are working incredibly hard to keep people safe and protect properties at this tense time. It is such a shame to see their efforts hampered.”

Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on the non-emergency number 101.

A total of 14 pumps are now working across Malton, Norton and Old Malton. A pump is heading to Morrisons car park, which is currently partially submerged. An additional pump is in place at Chandler's Wharf.

The River Derwent stands at 4.39m, down from a peak of 4.42m. Ground water levels are rising, causing some issues.

There is no current plan to close County Bridge, but this remains under constant review.