Residents of a village have told of their shock after a ‘tornado’ wreaked havoc in the early hours of the morning.

A resident of Rousdon, near Lyme Regis, claimed it was the worst weather he had seen in 40 years of living in the village.

A ‘tornado’ allegedly swept through Rousdon, which is just over the county border, during a ‘violent’ thunderstorm.

It is said to have devastated a caravan park, damaged a boat, brought down powerlines and uprooted trees.

Richard Keech, aged 53 of Pine Lodge, said: “I was in bed when I was woken at around 2am due to a constant gale.

“In the distance I could hear a thunderstorm brewing.

“When it got to us a bolt of lightning struck the transponder electricity pylon which serves west Rousdon.”

He claimed the transponder ‘exploded and caught fire’ and the village was left without power for five hours.

He said: “It was dramatic. I have lived here 40 years and never seen anything like that.

“I think we were in the middle of the eye of the storm. I would liken it to a tornado. I was frightened the whole house might come down.”

He added: “My neighbour’s boat weighed 300 to 400 pounds and moved about 14 feet across his garden. It swivelled around a number of times and the keel made indentations in his lawns where the wind picked it up and moved it.”

Wendy Roberts, aged 58 of Pinewood Lodges Holiday Homes, said: “I was crying like a baby. I was petrified, I’m not afraid to admit it.

“The noise of it all was frightening. I was shouting at my husband for him to hear me.”

She said a tree outside the Pinewood offices was uprooted and fences were brought down.

She added: “I think it was a tornado. The noise and the way things were happening. I have never, in my life, heard a roar like it.”

A spokesman from Westhayes Caravan Park said they were ‘directly hit’ by the tornado.

He said: “A tornado came through the front garden of our house and took out most of the trees, snapping trees over two feet in diameter like tooth pics, flattening conifers and apple trees.

“It then hit our house hurling the downed trees at the house and roof, the noise was deafening.

“Then it took out the overhead power cables which fell onto the garden and caught fire right across the garden then it moved across and hit the swimming pool area reducing the pool enclosure to bent metal and broken panels rendering it totally unusable.

“It proceeded to move four caravans off their plots two of which were moved about 15ft destroying four balconies completely another static caravan was picked up and thrown over a 5ft high hedge and deposited on its roof in the middle of the road.

 “A large quantity of caravans have had their caravan skirt ripped off some we have managed to refit others will require replacement parts.

“Several trees have come down none of which hit caravans as far as we can see.

“Patio furniture has blown all over the park, glass table tops are shattered on the floor in many places.”

Nicky Macey, a senior press officer of The Met Office, said the atmospheric set up was ‘conducive to the formation of small tornados’ however, without photographic proof, she said she couldn’t confirm whether that’s what happened.

She said the damage to property and trees could have just as easily been caused by strong winds.

She said on the Wednesday morning a band of heavy rain, accompanied by strong winds, pushed in from the west and that the south west saw some extremely heavy downpours and thunder.

She added: “Many people remarked on how loud the thunder was.”