Earthquake shakes Blackpool

Tremor of 2.2 magnitude topples traffic lights, cracks railway bridge and prompts fears of burglary

A small earthquake has shaken Blackpool and the Fylde coast – toppling traffic lights, cracking a railway bridge and making some residents think they were being burgled as they woke in the early hours to loud noises.

Several householders called police at around 3.30am to report they had felt the ground shaking. Some thought it was an April Fools' Day prank.

The British Geological Survey recorded a tremor with a magnitude of 2.2 – rated as a minor earthquake. The epicentre was located between Carleton and Poulton industrial estate.

Residents reported wardrobe doors being flung open while staff at Blackpool's Bonny Street police station felt the building shake. Officers were sent to Lytham Road in South Shore after reports that cracks had started to appear in the railway bridge.

Police said: "Some may have thought it was an April fool prank, but staff here felt the building move. We had a number of calls from residents. A woman in Grange Park rang up as she had been woken and thought her house was being broken into. Temporary traffic lights in Thornton Gate fell over while a man reported his motorbike had been knocked down.

"CCTV cameras on Lytham Road picked up superficial cracks on the road surface of the railway bridge near to the zebra crossing. We sent out officers to check it out. It's known as a weak bridge anyway. It was deemed to be safe."

The bridge was closed to buses in February because its condition had begun to deteriorate.

In 2008 Blackpool was one of several centres to feel the strongest tremors in the UK in 25 years.


Helen Carter

The GuardianTramp

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