A FAMILY was left terrified after their home was struck by lightning while they slept.

The shocking moment happened at just after 2.30am yesterday, during the powerful electrical storm.

Mandy Wilson, who owns Greenlands Equestrian Centre near Wreay, Carlisle, said: “It was quite a night; I was fast asleep in bed when it happened. I have never heard anything like it before.

"I was terrified, it was like an explosion. I woke up with such a shock and the hall was full of smoke.

“My daughter and grandson were asleep in the loft and I was so frightened something had happened to them. The smoke alarm was going off and all the power had tripped.”

A yellow Met Office warning for thunderstorms was in force with the north of England bearing the brunt of the unsettled weather which left a trail of destruction.

Firefighters were called to multiple strikes including two on houses. A crew from Carlisle East Fire station was dispatched to the riding centre after a 999 call was made.

Mrs Wilson explained: “I didn’t know what was happening. I called 999 and when they asked which service, I didn’t know what to say, I was just so shocked.

“The firefighters were great, they checked everything over and made sure there was no fire anywhere.

“We have about 40 horses in the livery and they were very spooked. But I know some horses that were out in the fields have been galloping all night and have broken fences down."

Still shocked and without internet access, she is having to try and do everything over the phone which is creating more problems.

This, however, is not the first time the centre has been hit with bad luck. Just last year up to 40 horses had to be led to safety after a blaze started in the sheds.

Staff had to take swift action to get the animals out of harm’s way, as firefighters were scrambled to the scene.

Comparing both incidents, Mrs Wilson added: “Twice we have now been blown up, I just can’t believe it. Knowing my family was in the house was even more frightening.

“The explosion was so loud I can’t imagine what it sounded like in Beirut.

"We lost water to the arena and my hall stank from the smoke, but fortunately otherwise we’re fine.”