Cumbria and the Lake District were rocked by a small earthquake which caused items to fall from residents’ shelves.

The British Geological Survey confirmed that an earthquake of 3.5 registered on the Richter scale shortly before 11pm last night.

The quake’s epicentre was in Coniston in the Lake District.

Cumbria Fire and Rescue services responded to hundreds of calls about the tremor but had not dealt with any damage. No injuries have been reported.

Retired accountant Gordon Shoosmith, 60 from Windermere, Cumbria, told The Daily Telegraph: “It was just a great big rumble that went on for about five seconds. At first we thought Sellafield [the nuclear power station] had exploded.”

Hotelier Alan Robertson from Eskdale, near Whitehaven, told The Telegraph: “I ran out of the front door, only to be confronted by my guests running out of their part of the house. We couldn’t believe it.”

The last tremor to happen in the area occurred in nearby Ulverston in April last year.
That quake registered 3.7 on the Richter scale.

The BGS reportedly detects around 150 earthquakes in the UK each year however only a fraction of these are felt by the public.