The Greggs-orcist

SPOOKED staff have reported some "spectre-cular" goings-on behind the pie and pastie counter at a Sunderland bakery.

Some of the city's most historic and famous buildings have their own resident ghoul - and now there is one more to add to the list.

Greggs in Sea Road, Fulwell, Sunderland, has been hit by a series of ghostly events, which has wafted a frightening chill over the sweet smell of baking stotties.

Kettles have been boiling unexpectedly while banging and clashing in the staff changing rooms has unnerved anxious customers.

But fear not, according to staff, the ghost - thought to be that of an elderly woman - is a friendly one who never steals the sandwiches and cakes.

Shop assistant Angela Thompson, who has worked at the store for the past two years, said: "I often hear banging from the floor above as if furniture were being moved around - even when I know nobody is up there.

"I think it must be the spirit of the old lady who lived in the flat upstairs before it became a shop.

"There is often an old fashioned, flowery smell of lavender in the building just before or after she pays us a visit.

"When our baker Ray used to work on the premises a few years ago, he told us that the kettle would already be boiling when he'd come in at 4am to start the early shift.

"Not only that, but if he ever played the radio too loud, he would hear banging on the floor from upstairs."

Angela claims that most of the 12 staff employed at the bakery have, at one time or another, felt a strange presence as they go about their work.

Mike Hallowell, a paranormal investigator who specialises in this type of ghoulish activity, believes a poltergeist could be to blame.

He said: "This type of activity happens in shops a lot more than what people might think. It could be a haunting, but my guess is, it's a poltergeist.

"Now, this isn't something which throws things about, but rather is usually found in the presence of a young woman who is worried or stressed about something.

"This stress then manifests itself outwardly."

Whatever the cause, staff say they aren't too concerned about the problem and have grown quite used to the strange happenings.

Well, almost.

"I still don't like to take breaks on my own," adds Angela.

Spooky Wearside

* The Cauld Lad, said to haunt Medieval Hylton Castle, is perhaps Sunderland's most famous ghost. According to popular belief, he was a young stable boy called Robert Skelton who was slain in a fit of rage by Baron Robert Hylton. It appears the young lad had been discovered sleeping when he should have been getting his master's horse ready. The ghost has made few appearances since servants left out a cloak and hood for it.

* The Empire Theatre in High Street West is thought to be haunted by the White Lady, known to frequent the bar area. A staff member says she heard doors banging, people walking about and felt an ice-cold presence. Some have speculated the ghost could be linked to the disappearance of a female member of staff from the 1940s.

* The Copt Hill pub, in Seaham Road, Houghton, was rumoured to have had a resident ghost, thought to be that of a former landlord who hanged himself from a beam in the bar. Customers have claimed to have seen his dangling body.

* Strange goings-on have often been reported at the pub at Marsden Grotto, which occupies caves once used by smugglers. Jack the Blaster betrayed his colleagues to revenue men and his ghost is believed to have haunted the premises.

* Ghostly goings-on at The Three Horse Shoes at Usworth, Washington, have been reported in the past. Women had reported mysterious hammerings on the toilet doors in the little "ghoul's" room, while burglar alarms have been triggered.