More than a thousand people enjoyed an annual duck and raft race despite fears it may not be able to go ahead.

A police investigation was launched in Hadleigh last week after three sluice gates were illegally opened and equipment used to operate them stolen. 

The mill gates were closed in May by the Environment Agency amid fears of flooding following prolonged wet weather since Storm Babet in October.

However, the agency managed to close the gates again to restore water levels in time to allow the duck and raft race to go ahead.

Race director Jonathan Moore said: "All the hard work is done by brilliant volunteer leaders with others pitching in when they can.  

"It is a very important event for us as it largely funds the core running costs of the Scout HQ and - apart from a Covid gap - has been running for 18 years."

He hoped the police and the Environment Agency would be able to find those responsible for opening the gates.  

"Certainly fearing heavy flooding in June seems bizarre," he added. 

Thousands of people gathers over River Brett for the eventThousands of people gather over River Brett for the event (Image: Hadleigh duck and raft race)

More than a thousand people were at Toppesfield Bridge over the River Brett to enjoy the fun and games. 

The event started at 10am with a race of bright yellow plastic ducks vying to be crowned 2024 champion.

The raft races began following the duck race and a trophy was sponsored by The George public house which also hosted an after-race party. 

Maggie Chamber, who participated in the race, said: "It's a great event to come to every year.

"Just an overall fun day out for everyone involved, and for a good cause of supporting our local scouts as well."