A market town was shaken by a huge explosion after an ”unexplained” occurrence left terrified residents believing that a meteorite had crashed to earth.
Locals in Saffron Walden, Essex, called 999 at 8pm on Sunday to report an earthquake after homes shook, furniture moved and windows rattled.
Two loud bangs resounded through the medieval town, prompting suggestions that there had been a plane crash or a meteorite landing nearby.
Noises were heard as far as six miles away in Thaxted and residents of Haverhill, Cambs., 13 miles away reported thuds, moving furniture and shaking houses.
But despite a full investigation by emergency services in the area, the bizarre event remains unexplained.
It was believed that a fault at an electricity sub-station caused the event, but the authorities have ruled this out and are calling the explosions a ”mystery”.
Caroline Mifsud, 37, from Saffron Walden, said that the sleepy village was shocked by the strange quake.
She said: ”My son heard an explosion and felt a shake and about ten minutes later there were police and fire engines everywhere. Everyone is talking about it on Facebook.”
Resident Andrew Green, 25, was in his garden when he felt the the mysterious rumble beneath his feet.
He said: ”I just felt the ground tremble and there was a bang. It was really weird.”
Inspector Kevin Wakefield, from Essex police, said that so far the authorities were at a loss to explain the strange event.
He said: ”We had a lot of calls from residents who heard and felt something but no one has actually seen anything.
”At the moment it is currently unexplained and unaccounted for and we are actively encouraging anyone who saw anything that might help us solve the mystery to contact us.”
A spokesman for the British Geological Survey, which records and measures earthquakes in the UK, said it had not recorded any activity in the area.
He said: ”It could be a meteorite or just an unexplained natural phenomenon.”
Paul Curtis, station officer in charge at Saffron Walden Fires Station, said: ”It’s a bit of a mystery.
”The power companies said there have been no reports of power loss and we investigated and could not find anything.
”We also checked with the military to see if they had conducted any training exercises.”
Meteorites are fragments of rock or metal which fall to Earth space at speeds of up to 11.2km per second.
Picture Credit: Jim Linwood on Flickr