** A river runs through it - Sandhurst, that is, and it was full of sewage.

RESIDENTS are calling for better flood protection after their Sandhurst homes were swamped in a torrential downpour last week.

They claim that improved drainage to playing fields at the back of their houses in Blackbird Close did nothing to stem the evening deluge.

Mark Day and his next-door-neighbour Trevor Kettle battled to keep the water at bay as the storm broke on Wednesday last week.

But despite their efforts the water, which contained raw sewage, flooded into their homes, ruining carpets, furniture and kitchen fittings.

"At one point we lifted the fence panels in my garden to try to relieve the water pressure, and it was like opening lock gates," said Mr Day.

"The water was coming in with such force we couldn't get the level down. It was up to the patio doors in next to no time."

The pair watched helplessly as the water swept through their homes and into the close, which quickly resembled a fast-flowing river.

Mr Day, an information technology manager, added: "The stench from the sewage in the house is so bad we've had to send our eight-year-old daughter to stay with my parents."

He was angry that Bracknell Forest Council had not heeded long-standing calls from residents for the drainage to be improved.

And as far as he was concerned the much trumpeted Greenway Project, which included the laying of artificial sports pitches behind his semi-detached house, had only exacerbated the problem.

The improved drainage included in the £580,000 scheme had proved totally inadequate, he said.

On Monday he discussed the problem with a council officer who visited his home. "I've suggested they build an earth bank at the rear of our houses to stop this happening again," said Mr Day.

A Bracknell Forest Council spokeswoman denied that the Greenway Project had contributed to the problem.

She said the flooding had been caused by a build-up of water on high ground. It had then swept down the hill and across the sports field.

The council is to hold talks with Thames Water about the overall drainage problem.