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Earthquake felt across North West

27 February 08 11:19 GMT

Thousands of people across the north-west of England have felt tremors from the biggest earthquake in the UK for nearly 25 years.

The earthquake, which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale and was centred near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire, struck just before 0100 GMT.

Buildings across Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire, were shaken by the tremors.

Concerned householders flooded Greater Manchester Fire Service with calls.

The tremors were felt as far a field as Southampton, Scotland and Wales - with a 19-year-old man from South Yorkshire suffering a broken pelvis when masonry from a chimney fell into his house.

'Literally terrifying'

Greg Harrington, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, said. "I was sat at my computer when I noticed the monitor beginning to shake.

"The shaking suddenly became more violent. I turned around to see my wardrobe doors opening due to the force - it was literally terrifying."

Colette Boyd-Terry, a midwife at Royal Oldham Hospital in Greater Manchester, said she and her colleagues felt "quite a substantial earth tremor" while working the nightshift but did not report any problems in the hospital as a result of the earthquake.

Maria Burton from Chester was sitting at her computer when she felt a strange vibration through her arm.

"As I moved the vibration increased dramatically and the floor and desk started vibrating and cracking sounds occurred as it travelled through the house," she said.

"It only lasted about 10-15 seconds I guess, but it was quite scary."

In August Manchester suffered six minor tremors measuring about 2.4 on the Richter Scale. The city was also hit by a series of tremors in 2002.

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