Quake that shook us in our sleep

THE biggest earthquake felt in England for nearly 25 years shuddered its way through local towns and villages in the early hours of Wednesday morning.The earthquake, emanating from Lincolnshire and measuring 5.

THE biggest earthquake felt in England for nearly 25 years shuddered its way through local towns and villages in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The earthquake, emanating from Lincolnshire and measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, was felt with some force in Beccles, Bungay and Loddon just before 1am - but Halesworth seems to have been too far south to experience the tremor.

Eyewitness accounts in and around the affected towns have been varied, ranging from shaking walls and moving furniture to people who simply did not realise it was happening.

And whilst Suffolk and Norfolk police were swamped by callers in the few minutes after the tremor, Norfolk police reporting 150 calls and over 30 999 calls, whilst Suffolk police stopped counting after the first six, there were thankfully no reports of injuries or damage to property.

Victoria Waterman, 36, of Gillingham, was one of the many local people impressed by the ferocity of the earthquake. She said: “There was quite a lot of shuddering and my bed moved from East to West. I thought something had driven into the house, but then I thought it was just a nightmare.

“I said I had had a really weird dream to my son in the morning and he said 'there's been an earthquake!'”

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And Dominica Bone, 20, from Laburnum Road Bungay, said she also felt the force of the tremor: “I was in bed in between being awake and asleep. Everything trembled and the cat jumped off the bed.

“I went to Greece a few years ago where there was an earthquake so I knew what it felt like.”

Luke Dix, 20, of Stone Alley in Bungay, was awake watching television and said: “It was a really good experience- the whole house shook.”

Meanwhile in Loddon, Maureen Larkin of Princess Anne Terrace said that the “whole house shook” and even that her dog seemed to sense the earthquake well before it came- around 7pm.

“He was definitely spooked, he's normally such a placid dog,” said Mrs Larkin. “He just looked like he wanted to run all the time, he was really agitated. They do say that animals have a special perception of these things before humans do!

“When my son, owner of the dog, who is temporarily staying with us at the moment, went to bed, the dog then wanted to go into the garden and then came in and went upstairs.

“Moments later we heard this strange sound and my son opened the bedroom door and said the whole house had just shook and the bedroom door had flown open. We were downstairs and just felt a shaking sensation and a loud noise.”

However there were also many local people who either slept through the earthquake or simply did not feel it. Mr and Mrs Cook of Church Plain slept right through it, whilst Barry Spall, 64, of Brick Kiln Avenue, Beccles, was similarly “unmoved”: “My grandson was ill, so I was already awake, but I never heard a thing. My wife tells me I'm deaf though!”

Meanwhile Philip Baker, 68, of Grove Road, felt the earthquake but did not think much of it. He said: “I thought it was the cat knocking something over but that was about it. It was really a little thing.”

Evelyn Crick, 52 of St Michael's Close, Beccles, said: “I'd gone downstairs to have a cup of tea and sit down and I thought it was the wind in the alley. It made me shudder, but I wasn't going to mention it to anyone. I didn't know what it was until this morning. I didn't realise we get them in England.”

Ella Goodsell, 17, from Wrentham, was woken up by it, and thought “someone had a drill going on,” whilst her boyfriend Cameron McClue, 17, from Reydon, “didn't hear anything.”

Some others did sleep through it, but most awoke to find their bed shaking, pets frightened and crockery rattling in cupboards

The shock was centred in Lincolnshire but felt across the country, and the BBC reported receiving calls from people in. Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Manchester, Berkshire and the West Midlands. The tremor could be felt in central Birmingham at about 0100 GMT but it is unclear if it has caused any damage.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) initially gave the magnitude for the 12.56am earthquake as 5.3 on the Richter scale but later said it was closer to 5.2. The centre was five miles east of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, and about 15 miles south west of Grimsby.