A homeowner has spoken of his relief that no serious damage was caused when his home was hit by lightning this afternoon.
Fire crews from Washington and Birtley were called to Bramhall Drive, near Rickleton, Washington, just before 4pm today when lightning hit the roof of the detached home.
There was no fire caused by the freak incident, but it did blast a small hole into the roof.
Steven Miller, 47, who was out with his family at the time, said: "We'd been out about ten minutes when my neighbour called to say 'I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but your house has been hit by lightning.'
"It's certainly not what you expect to hear on a quiet Sunday afternoon, but thankfully there's no real internal damage. There's a few bits of electrical problems, but it's 90 per cent ok.
"When we got back the fire crews had made it safe, they did a great job."
The region was hit by brief heavy downpours this afternoon with outbreaks of thunder and lightning in parts.
A crew manager from Washington Fire Station said it was the first time he'd been called to such an incident in his career.