Town centre in black-out drama

ENGINEERS were tonight working to restore power to shops and businesses after an electrical fault hit a Suffolk town.

ENGINEERS were tonight working to restore power to shops and businesses after an electrical fault hit a Suffolk town.

A bank had to be evacuated and a charity Christmas tree festival was forced to close early this afternoon after a smouldering underground cable knocked out power to parts of Sudbury town centre.

Firefighters were called in to carry out a thorough search at the Abbey branch after staff smelt fumes coming into the building.

The electricity board was later brought in after it was realised the stench was percolating from an underground cable.

Claire Gortsilas, a customer sales advisor at Abbey, said: “The electricity just went out so we evacuated people and locked the doors for security and then we could smell smoke.

“It was a real toxic, burning smell. It was coming from the air vents downstairs.”

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The drama unfolded from 3.30pm when lights went out at a number of buildings around the town centre.

St Peter's Church, where around 30 people had been enjoying 71 brightly decorated Christmas trees, was one of those affected. A decision was taken to close it for the night.

Some shopkeepers in North Street and East Street were told to cash up early as engineers from EDF Energy pulled the main fuse to begin working on the problem.

John Bromley, Suffolk Fire Service's watch manager for Sudbury, said two crews used a thermal imaging camera to check the safety of the bank before passing the matter to EDF.

“The smell has percolated through the shop. The staff have evacuated it and we are pleased with what they have done,” he said.

Engineers were hopeful repairs could be finished in time for when businesses and the Christmas tree festival aim to re-open tomorrow morning.

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