AN Aldershot family is in a state of shock after they watched their five-bedroom home collapse almost without warning last Friday evening.

Roop Sampla and his wife Nashatro still cannot believe that the Queen's Road end-of-terrace house, where they have lived since 1969, has been reduced to rubble.

All their personal possessions, including many of sentimental value, lie below the pile of bricks and masonry. New carpets, double glazing and recently fitted kitchen units have also been lost.

Mrs Sampla, 42, has been so traumatised by the tragedy that she had to be treated by the family doctor on Monday morning.

The couple and their two sons were left homeless after contractors, employed by Rushmoor Council, apparently disturbed the foundations while clearing a piece of public land alongside the house, built about 100 years ago.

After the workmen had gone home the family noticed that doors would not close, and that large cracks were appearing in the walls.

They called a gas fitter to turn off the supply, and he told the family to get out because the walls were moving.

One of the couple's sons, Vijay, 16, is reported as saying: "The housing manager then turned up, but he came running out of the house because the back wall collapsed while he was inside.

"He said that the house was going to go - the whole building was moving. Now all we have left is a pile of rubble."

One of 46-year-old Mr Sampla's first actions was to alert his next-door-neighbours - bakery manager Pat Bryant and his wife Mandy who were watching television, unaware of the drama unfolding next door.

The couple and their two daughters, aged 12 and 13, fled from their five-bedroom home and watched in horror as the Samplas' house broke up.

Mrs Sampla sat on the pavement crying as her home crumbled in front of her.

Mr Bryant said: "I just couldn't believe what was happening. We could hear the house moving and saw a piece of wall fall away.

"I feel so sorry for Roop…they are a really nice close knit family. This house was a special place in their lives, they used to hold big family gatherings there."

After spending Friday night at a hotel, the Bryant family were given the all clear by structural experts to move back to their home.

They are now waiting to hear what impact any demolition work may have on their house, which is linked by a gable roof to the Sampla home.

But Mr Bryant said: "Roop's loss and concerns are far greater than anything we have to worry about."

The Sampla family is staying at a hotel while Rushmoor Council officials help them map out the future.