AN ELDERLY man was trapped inside his cottage when an external chimney on his cottage collapsed, on Sunday afternoon.

The sudden collapse took out part of the side of the two-storey dwelling and blocked the front door with rubble, making it impossible for the startled 89 year old to get out.

Fire crews from Ledbury and Hereford attended the incident in Noverings Lane, and found the pension unhurt, in good spirits but a little shocked.

Keith Wildig, Ledbury's Watch Commander, said the weather was quite mild when the incident happened, at around 2pm, on Sunday February 2, but that earlier poor weather could have been a factor in causing the chimney's collapse.

Once the rubble had been removed, the pensioner was able to leave the building while firefighters entered the cottage, turned off the power supplies and then cordoned off the premises, which will now need extensive repair work.

Mr Wildig said of the pensioner, who has not been named: "He was fine; very chirpy, but obviously a bit shocked. No one expects their home to come down.

"We made the building as safe as we could; but it was not habitable."

The Ledbury Reporter understands that the 89 year old is currently staying with his son, in Gloucester.