Page last updated at 13:00 GMT, Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Chimneys topple in large tremor

Market Rasen church
A Market Rasen church was apparently damaged by the tremor

The biggest earthquake to hit the UK in 24 years has toppled chimneys and caused traffic delays in parts of Lincolnshire.

The epicentre of the 5.2 magnitude tremor was five miles (8km) east of Market Rasen, near Ludford.

Lincolnshire Police said they had more than 200 calls from concerned residents, but no-one was injured.

Part of Trinity Street in Gainsborough was closed due to falling debris and some streets in Louth were affected.

Falling masonry

Bennett Simpson from the British Survey said the quake measured at 5.2 on the Richter Scale.

"This is a very significant earthquake for the UK, we have about 200 earthquakes a year in the UK but a magnitude 5 is a large one," he said.

Damaged roof in Derby
Roof and chimney damage was evident in the East Midlands

Justin Cowell of Gainsborough said: "I heard a lot of masonry brickwork collapsing and falling and it was a huge shock and quite worrying.

"I came outside to find half of my chimney stack collapsed in the middle of the road."

Bev Finnegan, who lives in Market Rasen, said: "I was terrified to be honest.

"The noise was really, really terrifying... it was so deep and rumbling.

"It felt like the roof was going to fall in. There were people coming out in their dressing gowns wondering what it was. It was quite an experience."

There was a whooshing noise like an underground train approaching on the track followed by an enormous roar
Tom Edwards, Heckington

Alaister Wheeldon of Ilkeston in Derbyshire said he was thrown across the room by the shockwave as he was getting out of a chair in his living room.

"It actually threw me across the floor with such a ferocity that it pulled the plug out of the computer. I am 6 ft 3in tall and it is quite a shock to suddenly hit the ground when you are not expecting it.

"It was a terrible shock. I thought it was the satellite dish that had collapsed and gone into the house."

Tom Edwards of Heckington said: "There was no warning whatsoever - there was a whooshing noise like an underground train approaching on the track followed by an enormous roar.

'Spooky experience'

"The whole building seemed to rock to and fro. House keys were falling and crockery was falling about. I probably thought I was going to get killed.

earthquake graphic

"It was a weird sort of out of space spooky experience that I don't particularly want to go through again. Then after all that had happened there was complete silence."

A Lincolnshire police spokeswoman said there were reports of slight structural damage, cracks and damaged chimneys.

David Hopkins of Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said a fire began when a candle tumbled from a television during the earthquake in Skegness, but no-one was injured.

He advised residents who were concerned about gas leaks or other damage to contact the fire service.

Boston's marketplace was closed for a time on Wednesday morning while safety checks took place.

Glen Ramsden from Humberside Fire and Rescue said some chimney pots had collapsed in the Grimsby and Cleethorpes area, forcing some people to leave their houses.

The main 10-second quake, which struck at 0056 GMT at a depth of 15.4km (9.6 miles), was the biggest recorded example since one with a magnitude of 5.4 struck north Wales in 1984.

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