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Trees snapped in half as Storm Ali hits South Tyneside

Council workers are due to remove the trees
Council workers are due to remove the trees

Sonia Spence is counting the cost of Storm Ali after the high winds brought her neighbour's leylandii trees crashing down in the garden of her Marsden home.

Sonia, 60, was at home in Embleton Avenue at the time: "I heard a crash - I did not know what it was," she said.

Sonia had taken her three cats in before the trees came down

Sonia had taken her three cats in before the trees came down

"I am a bit deaf in one ear at the moment, so I went to the back of the house and found it blocked by a big tree."

Sonia is no stranger to high winds, but today was something out of the ordinary: "I am at the top of the bank, so the wind comes straight over the bungalows at the bottom and smacks straight into the trees," she said.

"But the Leylandii looked very strong - it was a surprise when they came down. They haven't come out by the roots, it looks as though they have been snapped in half."

Sonia's rose arch was demolished by the falling trees, but she said the damage could have been much worse.

The trees narrowly missed Sonia's greenhouse

The trees narrowly missed Sonia's greenhouse

"It missed my greenhouse, thankfully," she said.

"The greenhouse was bought with the money my mother left me last year when she passed away, so it means more to me than just a greenhouse.

"I had a barbecue in July for my sixtieth birthday and that was the only shade in the garden - if they had come down then, we wopuld all have been under them."

Thankfully, Sonia's three cats - Maggie, Tibby and Tigger - were safely in the house when the trees came down.

"My main concern was my cats," said Sonia. "If they had been outside, they would have been stuck on the other side of the trees

"They are only allowed in the garden and now they wont even be allowed out there until the fence is fixed.

"They won't know what to do."

Sonia is unsure how long it will be before her garden is clear: "My neighbour has phoned the council and apparently they will come out at some point," she said.