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A family has been told to stay away from their house after a 30ft-deep sinkhole opened up and swallowed their car.

Zoe Smith’s Volkswagen Lupo disappeared inside the 15ft-wide hole when it appeared without warning on the driveway of her parents’ home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

The 19-year-old is said to be “absolutely gutted” after losing her car but her parents, Liz and Phil Conran, said they “just feel so lucky” their daughter was not hurt.

“My daughter went to go and let her horses out because she was going off somewhere for the day,” Mrs. Conran said.

“She got herself all ready, got to the door, and saw her car wasn’t there.

“She thought that was a bit weird … so she went round to the kitchen window and then she saw the crater and just started screaming.”

The car flipped over and was facing in the opposite direction to which it was parked when it came to rest deep beneath the driveway.

“It’s on its side, it’s full of soil and (our daughter) certainly … wouldn’t have got out of it had she been in it, had she driven in and it had happened,” Mrs Conran said.

The family stayed with neighbors overnight and are waiting for their insurance company to assess the stability of their house before returning home.

Sinkholes are a depression or cavity in the ground caused by some form of collapse of the surface layer.

They can occur, often without any noticeable cracks or dips, when a layer of rock underneath the ground is dissolved by acidic water and can be triggered by heavy rain or flooding.

It is unclear what caused this latest sinkhole.