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A BOLT of lightning ‘unlike anything ever seen’ hit the BP garage in Christchurch and displaced the canopy.

The emergency services were called to the Somerford Road garage yesterday just after 1pm after a lightning storm.

Police cordoned off the road and fire fighters attended the scene to assess the safety after reports that the roof was misplaced.

Nearby shop owner Nicholas Bingham, of Lawson’s Cycle Shop, said: “Suddenly there were really high winds that felt like about 100mph.

“It was so strong that it lifted the bikes outside our shop and then we saw a big bolt of lightning coming down in front of the shop.

“It was one hell of a bang that came down and hit the petrol station – i’ve never seen anything like it.”

PC Bill Nightingall was at the scene and said: “There have been a number of lightning strikes across the area and this one hit the garage and knocked out the electrics.

“Everything is secure and the concern is the wind damage to the roof rather than anything else.”

Sean Frampton, Group manager of Dorset Fire and Rescue, said: “We have been assessing the roof as it is moving more than anticipated after the lightning hit the shop and the strong wind.”

The road remained closed so a structural engineer could assess the damage.