Car crashes through wall of chip shop

Doug and Mary Shanks were serving their first customer of the evening with fish and chips when a car crashed through the wall of their shop.The couple, who have owned Snettisham Chip Shop, in Alma Road, for 21 years, were behind the counter dealing with the customer when the incident happened on Tuesday.

Doug and Mary Shanks were serving their first customer of the evening with fish and chips when a car crashed through the wall of their shop.

The couple, who have owned Snettisham Chip Shop, in Alma Road, for 21 years, were behind the counter dealing with the customer when the incident happened on Tuesday. "We just heard a bang and the next thing we knew it was coming through the wall right at us," said Mr Shanks, 65.

The Toyota Rav4 ploughed through the shop, pushing the serving counter back against the fryer and pinning Mrs Shanks, 62, between the two.

Mr Shanks said: "My wife could not get out. The fridge had fallen against the door and I had to pull it off so we could get free."

He said he had feared the worst for his customer, who had been closer to the point of impact, but was relieved to find him outside following the accident. The man suffered a badly cut head.

Police, fire crews and ambulances were called to the scene and cutting equipment was used to free the car's elderly male driver. He and his wife were taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Mrs Shanks was also treated there for bruising and a badly cut arm.

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A structural engineer was called to the site to assess the stability of the building. The decision was taken to leave the car in place until the building could be shored up against further collapse.

Mr Shanks said the couple had been left shocked and shaken by the incident.

"This morning when I woke up I was lying there and it dawned on me that just moments before I had been standing exactly where the car came through. It could have been a lot worse. Just imagine if it had been a Friday night and the shop had been packed with customers with lots of children."

The couple are now liaising with structural engineers and insurers over the future of the business. "I couldn't really tell you where we go from here," said Mr Shanks.

Watch manager Andrew Wood, of Heacham fire station, confirmed that the elderly couple's injuries were not believed to be "life threatening".