Sniffer dogs search High Toynton church tower rubble

The collapsed tower
Image caption There were no casualties when the tower collapsed

Sniffer dogs were brought in by a fire service to search a pile of rubble for bodies after a church tower collapsed.

Nobody was hurt in the collapse at St John the Baptist, High Toynton, Lincolnshire on Sunday morning.

Investigations into the cause are under way and a structural engineer is due at the church later.

The Reverend Charles Patrick said: "Its obviously a great shock to see the devastation and a great gaping hole."

Image caption The church, seen here with the tower intact, was built in 1872

Mr Charles, the rector of the seven churches in the Horncastle group, said: "The fire service did a thorough job and brought in dogs just to ensure nobody was found."

Rob Tomkinson, a villager who got married in the church, said: "It's the only community building. It's the centrepiece of the village."

High Toynton, near Horncastle, is known as a "thankful village" because every man who left to fight in the two World Wars returned.

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Mr Charles, said: "It's an old building and all old buildings need maintenance, it is a 'Forth Bridge job', it always needs something doing."

He said the church's insurers had been informed of the collapse.

The fallen masonry in the churchyard has been cordoned off with police tape.

A fundraising appeal has been started to help with rebuilding.

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