It is wishful thinking to believe that the idiots who opened the lock gates on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal near Wigan Pier thought it would just be a harmless jape.
And today the Wigan Evening Post calls for the full force of the law to brought against these pranksters who have caused untold misery, distress and disruption to some of our most vulenerable residents.
Countless gallons of dirty water flooded part of Poolstock in the early hours and poured into up to a dozen homes causing tens of thousands of pounds in damage.
That would be horrible enough for anyone, but most of the victims of this act of gross criminal damage were elderly people living in sheltered accommodation. Some of the residents are bedridden.
Many are now having to be found alternative homes as the clear-up operation gets under way.
Sadly, whoever did this knew what they were doing because it has happened before: only half a mile away a few months ago where locks were again deliberately opened at the flight at Ince, flooding homes in another nearby street.
This is vandalism on a major scale and deserves severe punishment.