Earthquake hits Fylde coast

Cracks in a bridge on Lytham Road, Blackpool
Cracks in a bridge on Lytham Road, Blackpool
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AN earthquake shook the Fylde coast today – knocking over traffic lights and leaving some residents believing they were being broken into.

A number of concerned householders called police at around 3.30am to say they had been woken by noises and the ground shaking.

The British Geological Survey recorded a tremor with an intensity of 2.2 on the Richter Scale – rated as a minor earthquake.

The epicentre was located between Carelton and Poulton Industrial Estate.

Residents reported wardrobe doors being flung open while staff at Blackpool’s Bonny Street police station felt the building shaking.

Officers were sent to Lytham Road in South Shore after reports cracks had started to appear in the railway bridge.

A resident in Bispham reported his motorbike had toppled over while temporary traffic lights at Thornton Gate had fallen down.

A spokesman for Blackpool Police said: “We started to get calls at around 3.35am.

“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 but was deemed to be safe. A surveyor will be looking at it today.”

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

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “Structural engineers have been to Lytham Road bridge following a report of a crack on the road surface.

“We can confirm no damage has been caused to the bridge during the earthquake on Friday morning. The crack that raised concern has actually been there for a number of years and is just superficial.

“We’ve received no reports of damage to any council property or building.”

Blackpool last suffered an earthquake in 2008 - the biggest the country had seen in 25 years.

Residents were woken just before 1am on February 26 by the tremor which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale.