RAW sewage poured on to a Benfleet playing field after a ditch overflowed.

Foul smells wafted across Richmond Park off Richmond Avenue, after an underground ditch became backed up with waste.

Worried residents contacted Anglian Water after fearing for the safety of dog walkers and children.

The company was forced to bring in a digger to clear the mess yesterday claiming a “considerable amount” of waste had been spilled on the recreational ground.

Satnam Kaur, from Anglian Water, said: “We’re sorry local residents experienced sewer flooding. This was because of a blockage caused by cooking fat, wet wipes and other unflushable items being wrongly placed in the sewers.

“Our engineers were out at the weekend and contractors are currently onsite cleaning up the spill.”

The company hopes the sewage will be cleared by the end of today.

It is not the first time sewage has spilled into the park as it is an overflow site for Benfleet Sewage Treatment Works, in nearby Watlington Road, in times of heavy rain.

Legally, Anglian Water is allowed to discharge up to 2,461 tonnes of treated water every day from the treatment works into the park However, the company said this is an unrelated and unintentional incident.

Sharon Knight of Philmead Road, Benfleet, who was walking her dog at the time, claims the spillage is proof the sewage system is at breaking point and cannot cope with more homes.

She said: “The sewer main was erupting on to the grass spewing out raw sewage. It was disgusting.

“This is not the first time this has happened. I have witnessed this on numerous occasions.

Last year, while walking my dog, I was stopped by the maintenance crew from Anglian Water and told to keep my dog on a lead. This is more evidence they cannot cope. This is the 21st century, not the Middle Ages. Our children play here.”

Anglian Water is urging residents to take greater care over what they flush down the drain.