SEVERAL homes were left without water after a steam engine driver tampered with a hydrant.

It is understood the driver stopped to get water for the engine in Little Hayes Lane, Itchen Abbas, but accidentally damaged the hydrant, causing a leak.

Ten homes lost their supply for around 40 minutes on Saturday while Southern Water engineers raced to the scene and fixed the hydrant.

The utility company has launched an investigation.

A Southern Water spokeswoman apologised for the supply interruption and warned people not to interfere with hydrants.

She said: “We responded to reports from people in Itchen Abbas that water was flowing across the carriageway and were told a steam engine accessed the supply through a hydrant but during that operation the hydrant was damaged.”

Police were called but the engine had left by the time they arrived. A spokesman confirmed they were not taking the matter further.

The engine was on its way to Old Alresford for the village fair.