A CENTRAL English region has been hit by its strongest earthquake in 13 years.

The 3.2-magnitude earthquake, powered from a depth of 2.5 miles, struck the Oakham area of Rutland at 7.07am yesterday.

British Geological Survey seismologist Davie Galloway said: "There was a 4.1 in Melton Mowbray in October 2001 - so this is the biggest in the region for 13 years.

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"It was quite widely felt but we probably get about three of these at this size somewhere in the UK each year."

It was felt up to 28 miles (45 km) away from the epicentre of the earthquake near Wellingborough but most reports have come in from people who are within 15 miles (25km) of Oakham. Residents in parts of Stamford, Kettering and Oakham went online to say they felt the earthquake.

Among those who felt the tremor was former English rugby union player Austin Healey. He tweeted: "We've just had an earthquake in Oakham. The house was shaking for about 10 secs."

Sara Dodd, who is in Whissendine, tweeted that it "felt like an explosion but without any sound".

Another resident - identified as Ali W - wrote on Twitter: "It was different to the last one... A massive bang rather than a shake."

She added that "I even thought a train had crashed at the back of us".

Mr Galloway said: "It has nothing to do with fracking. We record about 200 earthquakes and it is to do with the earth's dynamic plates moving, probably about the pace of the growth of a fingernail.

"The most common reports we had is that houses shook, windows rattled for quite a few seconds, people were quite alarmed.

The biggest in the UK was the 5.4 magnitude tremor in Lleyn peninsula in north Wales in July 1984 and in 2008 a quake centred on Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, was measured at 5.2.