A suspected tornado left residents “petrified” when it ripped through a Staffordshire village, sending trampolines and tiles flying and a caravan on its side.

“Gale-force” winds tore through the village of Knutton, near Stoke-on-Trent, at around 6.30am on Monday, leaving a trail of destruction for residents to clear up.

St Giles Road has been cordoned off by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service as they try to make homes, missing roof tiles and chimney pots safe.

David Hemming was at work when the strong winds hit his home, knocking his caravan onto its side on his driveway, smashing into his other camper van.

Mr Hemming has spent the morning trying to clear up debris and broken glass from the damaged vehicles.

He said: “It was just one big gust of wind. I was at work, I was just leaving and I looked at the camera on the house before I left, and my caravan was on its side and had smashed into my van.

“I haven’t got a clue what happens now. The fire brigade said they might be able to help me, but they’ve got more important things to be worrying about at the minute.

“I’m hoping they will be able to come and right it for me, then I’ll have to empty it out and get it scrapped.”

Mr Hemming said he uses both the caravan and the campervan regularly for holidays.

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Firefighters have been making homes safe after strong winds sent tiles and chimney pots flying (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “We use the caravan when we go away for a week and if we go for the odd day or a weekend we use this campervan, and now both of them are ruined.

“There is glass everywhere, everything is covered in it.

“There are two sheds gone at the back. It has destroyed all the fence panels. It was just 20 seconds and then that was it, it had gone.

“It must have been a tornado from all the damage it has done. It’s just gone straight through the street.”

Neighbour Michael Wearing said Mr Hemming’s shed ended up in his back garden and he has spent all morning trying to clear the debris.

He had just returned from walking his dog and said it was fortunate he arrived back when he did, otherwise he could have been injured by flying tiles.

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Residents said the strong winds early this morning were ‘petrifying’ (Jacob King/PA)

He said: “It was definitely a tornado, without a shadow of a doubt. You heard it winding up, it sounded like a Hoover starting up.

“I was drying the dog and he normally sits on a towel but he shot in through the back door with his tail between his legs. Literally 10 seconds later, I shut the door and stuff just started flying.”

Mr Wearing’s front window was smashed by flying debris and his van windscreen is too damaged for him to be able to drive it.

He said: “One of my bins, I don’t know where it is, it’s gone flying off somewhere.

“Someone has had a trampoline through their roof, there were tiles flying everywhere.

“It has ripped off some wooden sleepers in my garden. My neighbour had half a fence panel jammed behind his soil pipe.

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David Hemming said he was at work when he checked his CCTV camera and saw his caravan had overturned on his driveway (Jacob King/PA)

“We’ve not long been here so we’ve been trying to get the garden done for summer. We have a new shed but it’s tilting now.

“Some of the streets either side of us have had nothing. It was gale-force winds.

“It maybe wasn’t as intense as what they get in America, but it was definitely a tornado.

“You can imagine the damage done to the ones that last 10 minutes. It just stopped dead. It was really powerful.

“We’re just trying to get back to some normality, it’s ridiculous.”

Deborah Wainwright said she thought someone was trying to get into her home in the early hours of this morning when her front door started banging.

She said: “Then all the tiles started flying around and hitting everything. My carer’s car has probably been written off because of the damage as roof tiles have been hitting it.

“He’s had to claim off the insurance.

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Tiles have been ripped off the roofs of some homes in St Giles Road, Knutton (Jacob King/PA)

“It terrified me, nothing like this has ever happened before – we have had storms before but nothing like this. it just started raining as normal and then it just came, it was petrifying.

“I can’t even let my dogs out in the back garden because the fence panels have come down and the concrete posts are all bent.

“There are tiles stuck in the lawn in the back garden and there is glass everywhere.”

The Met Office said it was not possible to verify if the strong gusts in Staffordshire were a tornado, adding that the winds forecast this morning “had some potential” to create them.

Stephen Dixon, Met Office spokesman, said: “Tornadoes do happen in the UK and they’re generally short-lived in nature, but around 30 a year are reported on average.

“Today there have been some reports of some particularly impactful winds.

“The fronts that were moving southwards this morning had some potential for some short-lived tornadoes within them, but we would need to assess the impact.”

The Met Office website defines a tornado as a “rapidly rotating column of air that reaches the base of a storm cloud and the Earth’s surface”.