A POPULAR department store was hit by flooding after a faulty sprinkler pump prompted the emergency services into action.

Firefighters from Caversham Road were sent to House of Fraser in the town centre at around 6.45am on Friday to deal with the extensive leak.

Crews indicated the water had spread throughout the entire ground floor and staff battled hard to retrieve goods from the retail spaces.

Matt Hoult, crew manager for Caversham Road, said: "There was a bit of a flood in the House of Fraser, which could present some problems for shoppers this morning.

"The water was only about an inch deep, but it was very far reaching and had spread throughout the retail space of the ground floor.

"We had to isolate the electrics and we assisted in shifting the water, while some of the staff attempted to salvage some goods.

"It appears to have been caused by a faulty sprinkler pump. It is unusual, I have never been to something like this before, but it is something for them to investigate.

"We are unsure if it will be open in time for shoppers but if anyone is unsure we would advise you to ring the store."

The Riverside level of the store has been closed and it is hoped the lower level will reopen in the next few hours.