A desperate couple are looking for clues to track down the source of a vibration which is making their lives a misery.

The pulsating noise has kept Irene and Edward Funnell from a good night's sleep for 286 days and, despite attempts by a variety of authorities to find the cause, no-one knows where it is coming from.

Mrs Funnell, 62, of Lovel Avenue, Welling, said: "Some people think we are mad, but we are just normal people."

The couple, who have lived in their home for 34 years, thought at first the low throbbing noise was the bass from someone's music.

Then they thought it might be a lorry parked in the street with its engine running.

But just before Christmas last year, 63-year-old Mr Funnell was woken up in the early hours by "an awful noise" coming from somewhere in the house.

The couple got up and heard a hissing noise as they searched for the source.

They opened the back door and went outside.

Mrs Funnell said: "It was like a vibration in the head, but you could feel it in the air.

"My husband said he would not have been surprised to look up and see a spaceship.

"It was very frightening."

Almost the same spaceship comparison was used by Lord Philips of Sudbury last month to describe a mysterious hum which began in the Suffolk town in July and which has also not yet been traced.

Mrs Funnell said: "We dread going to bed. We nod off but it is always broken sleep and we are awake by 3.30am. We get no peace and quiet any more."

The couple's landlord, housing association London and Quadrant, has been working to find the source of the vibration, taking apart the central heating system and checking the electrics and the drains.

Mrs Funnell said all the workmen have heard it but none have been able to trace it.

Recently, the outside of the house was being painted.

Mrs Funnell said the foreman was standing on their garden path when he wrenched off his earphones and said he had experienced a horrible noise in his head.

She invited him into the house but he left saying the noise was even worse inside.

Mrs Funnell said: "He told me I feel like I have just been zapped'."

Since then, both she and her husband have begun to experience a "horrible giddiness" on occasions.

Bexley Council's environmental health officers have not been able to find the source of the noise, despite switching off a nearby relay mast which they thought might be causing the problem.

They have also carried out underground tests, but did not find the source.

Mrs Funnell said: "We have even been checked for tinnitus.

"As a last resort, I suppose we may have to consider moving."

She added: "Other people all over the world have experienced similar vibrations."

The couple's four children, who have all experienced the noise, have scoured websites looking for clues.

Their daughter Melanie Ryan said: "I am not sure how much more my parents can take.

"I am very worried for their wellbeing."

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