A BOLT of lightning is believed to have cause this catastrophic explosion blowing a fully grown tree to smithereens and sending debris flying over rooftops.

Householders in Newby Wiske, near Northallerton, saw a flash of lightning and then heard an enormous bang during a recent storm, electricity was tripped across the village and several households suffered disruption to internet and electric services.

But it was when they saw the damage to the tree, in the grounds of the hall, that the full force of the impact came home. Carol Bowe, who has lived in Newby Wiske for five years after moving from nearby South Otterington said: "We had never seen anything like it. It really was as if the tree had just exploded from the inside out. There was debris all over the place, some had gone over the rooftop and the rest was blasted all around.

"We were told by an electrical engineer that the power surge from the lightning would have instantly boiled the sap in the tree, and that's why it exploded."

Mrs Bowe said half of her electricity went off, the shock split through the middle of the fuse box, with half of it blown to bits and the other half still functioning. They had to have new cordless phone connections because that had been burnt out and many other people in the village had to get new internet routers. A water main on the opposite side of the road to the tree burst open and had to be replaced.

Mrs Bowe said while it was shocking they're working on the theory that lightning doesn't strike the same place twice. "We certainly won't forget that storm in a hurry, but we're not concerned I have never seen that kind of damage before, it is a once in a lifetime thing, I can't see it happening again," she added.