THE health trust in charge of Broadmoor Hospital after an an emergency siren was set off in the early hours of this morning following a technical fault.

The alarm in Bracknell, which is intended to alerts residents to an escaped patient, started sounding at around 4.30am and last until 7.20am.

It is believed the overnight storm caused the fault.

A statement issued by the West London Mental Health Trust (WLMHT) said: "The trust would like to offer its sincere apologies to those local people who may have been either disturbed by the noise or distressed at the time. These sirens are very rarely activated by the weather and are regularly tested each week to ensure they work." The siren which went off is one of seven the WLMHT is planning to get rid of.

The sirens were installed in 1952 after patient John Straffen escaped for 24 hours and killed a young girl in Farley Hill and are tested every Monday at 10am.

The WLMHT is exploring shutting down the sires in Finchampstead, Bracknell, Winkfield, Bagshot, Camberley and the two in Wokingham, while keeping the six sirens closest to the hospital, in Crowthorne, Sandhurst and Little Sandhurst.

The health trust is consulting local people before it makes a decision about the proposal to shut off the sirens.

Consultations on the proposals will continue until the end of the month when WLMHT will analyse the results and make a decision.

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