Bakery wholesaler Bako Northern bore the brunt of the winds yesterday when a roof collapsed on 15 cars as storms battered parts of the UK.

A row of five almost-finished industrial units in Langley Moor, County Durham, came down as if it had been subject to a controlled explosion, the operations manager at Bako Northern next door said. The roof blew off on to Bako’s car park, crushing employees’ vehicles, but injuring no-one.

The dramatic collapse happened at around 9.40am on Monday, when the winds were gusting strongly across the industrial estate.

The building that collapsed was in the process of being finished, but there were no workers on site at the time. It was thought there were no doors on the property when the gust brought it down.

It is not owned by Bako Northern and is on an adjoining site.

Group operations manager Sean Kelly said: “It was extremely lucky for us, all our drivers were out, there were no contractors or visitors. There was nobody hit by a flying brick, though debris was strewn across the yard.

“We have to thank our lucky stars it happened when it did, when we were at our quietest. When we saw the CCTV afterwards, it looked like a building brought down by a controlled explosion.”

A total of 10 fire crews attended, as well as the air ambulance, which arrived as a precaution, but fortunately no-one was trapped.