A SANDY beach has almost disappeared overnight leaving families living nearby terrified their homes could be swept away.
Thousands of tons of sand and shingle at Hallsands, Devon, have been gouged out since Christmas leaving only a base layer of peat.
Every tide is washing sand away and some locals at the normally peaceful haven are suffering sleepless nights during storms when the problem is at its worst.
South Hams district and Devon county councillor Julian Brazil said the whole of the exposed east-facing coast of South Devon is under threat.
He said: “Hallsands is where you can see the problem at its worst. But the erosion over the past three weeks has happened all along this stretch of coast. The continual storms are eroding the shore like we’ve never seen before.”
Mr Brazil added: “The houses are vibrating when the waves hit. Residents are very concerned and tell me they can’t sleep at night because of the booming sound.
“The base layer of peat is being washed away every day. Two years ago rock ‘armouring’ protecting the road was tossed around by the sea and the road was wiped out.
“Repair works were done. The rock was put back but it is not going to be with us for long as it’s being washed out.”
Singer songwriter Damon Albarn, 47, of rock band Blur, owned a home in Hallsands and campaigned to stop the tiny village disappearing into the sea after it inspired the album Plastic Beach for the Gorillaz.
But action will be slow. An Environment Agency spokesman admitted there was an erosion risk to the road in the short term and property in the longer term.
But due to the low risk to a small number of properties no action is likely for the next 100 years.