ENJOYING a quiet cuppa, village garage owners couldn't believe it as a lorry crashed into the forecourt wall, careered sideways in the air and smashed through vehicles before shuddering to a halt in a shower of flying bricks.

It sounded like an aircraft coming through the roof, said Valerie and Pat Peplow.

They were confronted by the flying white Scania on Tuesday morning at the Three Pines Garage, Bredenbury.

The lorry landed on a white Mini, pulverising it. The two vehicles scooted across the forecourt, the lorry eventually coming to rest in the pub car park next door.

Miraculously, the driver escaped with cuts and bruises and was well enough to ask for a cigarette. Luckily the garage, which is a popular haunt for children buying sweets, was empty.

Next door at the Barneby Arms it was the Barnett family's first day at the pub.

Both families describe a horrendous noise, flying debris and the lorry careering through the air, side on.

Mr Peplow said: "We were just having a cup of tea when we heard quite a bang, like an aircraft coming through the roof and then saw the lorry flying through the air. It was sat on top of the Mini and pushing a Suzuki. There were bricks flying everywhere."

Mrs Peplow added: "We expected to find a body. It was an horrific noise. Imagine that hitting the floor, it was like a bomb going off."

They helped get the stunned driver out through his windscreen before he was taken by ambulance to Hereford County Hospital, apparently with cuts to an elbow and his forehead.

At the scene PC Duncan Reynolds confirmed the driver suffered minor cuts. He believes he is from the Nottingham area.

Mr and Mrs Peplow 'thank God' he wasn't killed and there were no customers at the time.

Next door, 95-year-old Dora Bywaters was sitting looking out of the window when she heard the crash. She said the noise and thought of what might have happened brought tears to her eyes.

Her daughter, Mavis Barnett, witnessed the accident. "I saw this big vehicle reeling in the air and then the lorry on a skew, then on its side. Then there was a terrific sand storm, you couldn't see anything through it. It's the sort of thing you see on the TV. We have lived by main roads in Luton and the sea front in Yarmouth and never seen anything like it." The family has uprooted from a hotel in Yarmouth to take on the pub, run by brothers Cary and Kim Barnett.

But it was dj vu for Mr and Mrs Peplow, who seven years earlier were mopping up after a lorry was involved in a similar forecourt stunt.

The smash will have been the topic of conversation in the pub that night and at the parish council, where the speed limit on that section of road running through the village was on the agenda.

Villagers are campaigning to have the speed limit reduced from 40mph to 30mph.