FURIOUS Jean Driscoll is counting the cost after a huge crater appeared outside her home for the third time in as many years.

She had driven over the spot just minutes before the ground gave way, to reveal a 20ft hole.

Local government worker Jean, 45, and husband, Howie, now have to climb over a wall and walk down their drive in order to reach the street.

Jean, of Cochrane Park, Newcastle, said yesterday: "It is unbelievable that this has happened again.

"It is the third time we have been left with a crater outside our front door and stranded in our home.

"I had driven over that spot a few minutes earlier. I could so easily have dropped inside. Northumbria Water keep coming and filling it in, but within months it happens all over again.

"The last time we spent £10,000 repairing pipes in our home, because we were told our pipe work was responsible.

"It now appears subsidence is causing pipes to burst and that causes the ground to give way. There is nothing we can do to stop it and I am frightened our whole driveway will disappear next."

A Northumbria Water spokesman said: "All we can do is repair the damage as quickly as possible, but we cannot stop the subsidence - that is something for the relevant bodies to look into."