‘Breach, breach!’ – Town residents given their cue to run if dam breaks
By Tom Parmenter, news correspondent
Inside Whaley Bridge, "breach, breach" is the cue to run.
All of a sudden, police officers in the middle of Whaley Bridge panicked.
People had been on edge all day, nervous about the perilous state of the reservoir. But at around 9.30pm, officers in one part of the town heard something that really set them running.
They were screaming at people as they ran: "You've got to run… go go… NOW… run!"
But there was no wall of water pursuing them down the road from the reservoir – they had heard duff information.
One lady had told us she'd been instructed to listen out for officials shouting "breach, breach" – that would be the cue to run.
We don't know what message they'd had but they were properly spooked. The all clear came 20 minutes later.
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The good people of Whaley Bridge were already tired, upset and confused enough. The police panic was the last thing they needed.
It is now weirdly silent in the usually bustling hub of this town.
A primary school, pubs, homes and an assortment of shops would all take a direct hit if the wall collapsed and released some of the 300 million gallons of water being stored in the reservoir.
If the unthinkable did happen Whaley Bridge would face a flood of epic proportions.