A DRAIN pipe explorer who popped his head out of a manhole cover to ask for directions surprised a homeowner.

The bizarre anecdote came as South Swindon parish councillors debated flooding that in the past has left gardens off Newburn Crescent covered in human waste.

Coun Chris Watts blamed flooding on the River Ray, which caused water in the stream to back-up to a nearby sewage pumping station. When the pumps failed it spilled raw sewage onto residents’ gardens: “When it drained away it left what you’d expect. That happened two or three times.

“I don’t think the River Ray has been as bad since the drainage works in Wichelstowe.”

He said there was also a town centre culvert that flowed into the Newburn Crescent stream, called the River Fleet by some residents.

Coun Watts joked: “There was one chap. He was looking out of his back garden in Newhall Street and all of a sudden the top pops off his drain, this little head pops out and the person says, ‘Can you tell me where I am? I got into the drain at Fleet Street and I got lost.’

“He gets out and then his mate gets out afterwards.”

Coun Neil Hopkins added: “I think the guy who put his head out is probably lucky nobody was playing whack-a-mole at the time.”

The culvert had been built by Great Western Railway pioneer Sir Daniel Gooch and is big enough to stand up in, Coun Steve Allsopp said.