United Kingdom

Mother-of-five tells how HALF of her £195,000 dream home plunged over a cliff edge overnight

Mother-of-five Emma Tullett, 42, told how she 'lost everything' after a cliff collapse caused her dream home to crash into the sea

A mother-of-five told how she 'lost everything' after a cliff collapse sent her dream home crashing into the sea. 

Emma Tullett, 42, only bought her £195,000, two-bedroom bungalow - which had a swimming pool - in August 2018.

But the property in Eastchurch, on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, today plunged off the cliff, along with her orange Seat Ibiza car.

All that's left is the living room, a bedroom, kitchen and the hallway.

She lived in the home with her partner and four of her children aged six, seven, 15 and 17.

Her teenage children lived in an annex off the main property, which was the first of the at-risk houses to fall.

Ms Tullett noticed bricks in her front garden separating after arriving home from work on Friday afternoon.

Shortly after 9pm she heard 'crunching' and blinds in her living room fell off the wall.

Ms Tullett grabbed her children and the family left the house with just their phones, chargers and the clothes on their backs.

They were evacuated to a local community centre and are now in temporary accommodation in Sittingbourne.

Co-op assistant manager Ms Tullett said today: 'I was sitting there watching TV with a glass of wine and then the blinds fell off the wall. Everything happened really quickly.

'I heard this crackling and crunching and then you could tell the cliffs were gone. I think the cracks must've been getting bigger over a few days.

Shocking images show Mrs Tullett's house on the edge of the cliff in Eastchurch after the soft ground crumbled forcing families to evacuate

Ms Tullett grabbed her children and the family left the house with just their phones, chargers and the clothes on their backs. Pictured: The scene after emergency services cordoned off the area today

Ms Tullett's property in Eastchurch, on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, today plunged off the cliff, along with her orange Seat Ibiza car. Pictured: Police closed off the road in the area

Since Ms Tullett's house fell, three more properties have been dubbed at risk of falling into the sea as a result of the cliff collapse. Pictured: Emergency services are at the scene today

A multi-agency response has been mounted to deal with the crisis. The area at risk was sealed off today (pictured)

The erosion of the cliffs in Eastchurch was so severe that safety barriers were pulled down as they stood on the crumbling soil

'We grabbed the kids and the teenagers from the annex and just said get whatever you can.

'Today, half of our house fell off the cliff. All that's left is the living room, a bedroom, kitchen and the hallway.

'It's absolutely heartbreaking - we've lost everything. This was my dream home which I paid for in cash.

'We were told we'd have about 40 years living here, but we've not even had two.

'We can get a new house, a new car - but it's things like baby photos of my children that will all be at the bottom of the cliff now.

'It's the sentimental things that I can't get back that make this even worse.'

Ms Tullett said she noticed a nine-inch crack in her front garden earlier that day.

She contacted the Environment Agency, and firefighters were eventually called in to evacuate 20 homes overnight after the 'significant collapse'.   

Fire crews using a drone and specialist Coastguard cliff rescue teams have scoured the collapsed rubble and soil in case people were underneath. Pictured: The scene in Eastchurch today

Teams from Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, coastguard, Swale Borough Council, Southern Water, UK Power and the Environment Agency as well as Eastchurch Parish Council are at the scene in the idyllic community. Pictured: Emergency services

Three more houses have since been dubbed at risk of falling into the sea as a result of the cliff collapse.

They have also been evacuated by emergency services earlier today along with a couple of houses in a cul de sac behind them.

Fire crews using a drone and specialist Coastguard cliff rescue teams have scoured the collapsed rubble and soil in case people were underneath.

But it is not thought there were any casualties.

A multi-agency response has been mounted to deal with the crisis. The area at risk was sealed off today.

Residents in Eastchurch had to be evacuated from their homes after a cliff suddenly collapsed on Friday night, putting properties in immediate danger. Pictured: The cliff edge yesterday

One distressed resident described one of the properties 'hanging' off the edge of the cliffside yesterday

But it is not known at this stage if there could be any further collapse although police chiefs say there is a 'significant risk'.

Teams from Kent Police, Kent Fire & Rescue Service, coastguard, Swale Borough Council, Southern Water, UK Power and the Environment Agency as well as Eastchurch Parish Council are at the scene in the idyllic community of Eastchurch Gap.

Malcolm Newell, 70, a local parish councillor, owns two houses that were evacuated - including his own where he has lived since retiring as a wood turner in 2001.

He said that the parish council has been battling to get the cliffs secured for years.

The coastline is a designated as a Site of Scientific Interest (SSI).  

Mr Newell and others set up the Eastchurch Gap Cliff Erosion Community Group to try and get action done.

He said: 'I own two properties which have been evacuated. I was able to grab a few things and get out.

'It's the waiting game. We just don't know what will happen. We have been trying to get the authorities to do something about the cliffs for years.

The surrounding area was yesterday closed by local authorities, with footpaths now blocked off and large parts of the beach below inaccessible

A Google map view shows how close the residential area, known as Surf Cresent, sits to the sea below the cliffs

'When we first moved here there was a lovely beach and a slope down to the sea.

'But over the years it's eroded until now there is a sheer cliff.

'We wanted to get a mesh put in on the slope and encourage flowers and other plants to grow there to strengthen the soil.

'But it took a year for Swale Borough Council to make a decision and by then it was too late.

'We want compensation from someone for all of this. We have lost everything.

'Poor Emma and her family have had their entire home go into the sea.

'As a community we have rallied round to help her with bedding, food et cetera.'

Football news:

Bayern, Atletico and Everton are Interested in Zaa
Joan Laporta: Messi is the best in history. We must create appropriate conditions for it
Mourinho on Bergwein in reserve: Klopp, Pep and Lampard you ask such questions
Solskjaer on Pogba: he's been great since the restart. When Paul plays like this, you can't help but include him in the lineup
Alisson: the points Record was not Liverpool's goal. We are still Champions
Inter want to extend Sanchez's lease and are willing to pay extra for him to Manchester United if the clubs play in the Europa League final
Don't talk behind our backs, go out on the field and fight with us. Pep's possible appeal to Jose, Klopp and the world