Ripon Sainsbury's evacuated after sinkhole opens up

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image captionThe sinkhole opened in an alley close to Sainsbury's supermarket in Ripon on Tuesday morning

A supermarket has been evacuated after a sinkhole opened up behind it.

Firefighters are examining the hole after staff and customers were asked to leave Sainsbury's in Ripon when the ground gave way in an alley behind the building.

Police and engineers were also called to the scene but there were no reports of injuries.

The North Yorkshire city is known for the phenomenon of sinkholes in recent years.

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image captionSainsbury's in Ripon's Market Place

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said on Twitter on Tuesday: "Police and Fire and local authority Emergency Planning all currently investigating a report of a possible sinkhole opening in Ripon.

Police said they were called to the store at 10:00 BST.

'Maze-like caves'

In 2016, a 74-year-old woman described her lucky escape after she almost fell into a 30ft (9m) deep sinkhole which appeared in her back garden in Magdelen's Road.

In November 2016, seven properties were evacuated in Magdalen's Road when a 49ft (15m) by (49ft) 15m hole opened up behind a terrace of houses.

Two years earlier, 400 yards away in Magdalen's Close, a house had to be demolished after a sinkhole formed.

image captionIn November 2016 a sinkhole estimated to be about 6m (20ft) deep opened behind a row of houses in the city

After the 2014 event, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said gypsum under the town had dissolved to form a maze-like cave system.

It said in a report that sinkholes appeared in Ripon every two or three years in the 1980s and 1990s but there had not been any reported in the seven years before the 2014 event.

The BGS said there were a number of possible triggering mechanisms, relating to action of water underground.

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