A DENBIGHSHIRE county councillor has hit out at the "irresponsibility and thoughtlessness" of people who opened the town's flood defences during Storm Ciara.

While many residents in the county have battled flooding during the storms and ensuing high tides, cllr Paul Penlington and residents of the Tower Gardens were forced to manually close the floodgates multiple times following acts of "anti-social behaviour".

Floodgates were first installed in Prestatyn in January 2014 after high tides overtopped a cut through in the dunes, requiring Denbighshire County Council (DCC) staff, residents and the town's councillors to build an emergency sandbag wall.

Cllr Penlington said: "I had floodgates installed on Prestatyn’s Tower Gardens estate as, although the estate has never flooded, high tides overtopped a walkway through the dunes regularly.

"During storm Ciara, there were several high tides expected so the council closed the floodgate as a precaution. I was informed on the morning of Sunday, February 9 that people had been opening it, and leaving it open.

"As DCC staff were very busy, I went and closed it myself but it had to be closed again three more times by estate residents. The irresponsibility and thoughtlessness of people opening floodgates is beyond belief.

"I have now asked the council if they can padlock this gate in future."

While it is unknown why the gates were opened, the other floodgates in the town were left untouched.

Due to the Tower Gardens site being targeted repeatedly, the council has already taken measures to lock the floodgate. However these has been removed multiple times.

A spokesman for the council said:“We are aware of the flood gate at Tower Gardens, Prestatyn being broken. Some individuals have smashed the lock and opened the gate. As a result the council is sending staff to replace the lock and secure the gate.

"Council staff have been working tirelessly over recent days to deal with flooding incidents and behaviour like this is completely unnecessary and diverts valuable resources away from other vital work.

"The flood gates are there to help protect coastal communities and to minimise any flooding issues. Anti-social behaviour like this is irresponsible and certainly doesn’t help the emergency response."