A WOMAN has paid out £10,000 to have a giant sinkhole, the size of a double decker bus, filled in her garden which appeared out of nowhere.

Gretel Davidson, 55, of Holmsdale Grove, Barnehurst, revealed structural engineers have filled the hole with more than 20 tonnes of rubble and 40 tonnes of topsoil.

The devastated homeowner, who works as a radiographer at Darent Valley Hospital, said she "has had to beg, steal and borrow" from family and friends to pay the unexpected bill which was not covered by home insurers Halifax.

Ms Davidson has hired Dan Baker, director of D J B Structural Engineers Ltd in Erith, to carry out the work to make the hole nicknamed 'the cave' safe.

The mother-of-one said: "The hole was just getting bigger and bigger.

"At one point it was 18-feet wide and 10-feet deep, taking up the entire width of the garden.

"The whole situation is just unbelievable.

"I am having to beg, steal and borrow from friends and family and work all the extra hours under the sun to pay off the £10,000 bill.

"The normal person just cannot prepare themselves for such a massive bill.

"You just think your home insurance would cover this kind of thing.

"Halifax just didn't know what to do with me, they have never had a case like this before.

"I am really still very upset with the insurers."

The hole appeared in Ms Davidson's garden three weeks ago.

She desperately fought to get help from neighbours and Bexley Council, but had no joy and has been forced to foot the bill for the extraordinary hole.

She added: "I would encourage anyone looking for a home to rent, at least you wouldn't be liable if this kind of freak accident happened in rented accommodation.

"You work hard for your home over your whole life and want to make it as nice as possible and then this kind of thing happens.

"It's just shocking."

A spokesman for Halifax Insurance said: "Following a thorough investigation our engineers are confident this sinkhole has not caused any damage to the property and poses no threat to the structure of the home, therefore it is not covered by the insurance policy."