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Strong earthquake jolts UK

world Updated: Feb 28, 2008 04:24 IST
H S Rao

Britain was on Wednesday jolted by an earthquake, the biggest to hit the country in nearly 25 years that damaged property worth over 10 million pounds.

The tremor, measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale, hit shortly before 1.00 am (0630 IST) with its epicentre in Lincolnshire, but people were woken as far away as Wales, Scotland and Yorkshire.

One person narrowly escaped death when a chimney smashed through the roof of his terraced home and crashed into his bedroom in Wombwell in South Yorkshire.

The Association of British Insurers said that the cost of damage to homes and property is likely to be in excess of 10 million pounds.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) initially gave the magnitude for the 12.56 am earthquake as 5.3 on the Richter scale but has now said it was closer to 5.2.

It said the epicentre was eight kilometre east of Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, and 22 kilometre south west of Grimsby.

The tremor is the biggest in Britain since 1984 when north Wales was hit by a quake which was registered at 5.4 on the Richter scale.

People in Newcastle, Yorkshire, Manchester, the Midlands and Norfolk and also parts of Wales, felt the tremor.

Seismologist Dr Brian Baptie of the BGS said: "This is a significant earthquake for the UK and will have been widely felt across England and Wales."

A Lincolnshire police spokeswoman said the force had received dozens of calls from residents.