| LONDON: When tensions between the West and Russia were at their peak and nuclear war seemed a real possibility, Mike Thomas bought his dream home.|
It had almost everything he wanted - four bedrooms, a big garden and sea views. But something was missing.
So worried was Mr Thomas, 56, that a nuclear strike was imminent he decided to build an underground bunker capable of withstanding a blast 80 times bigger than the one that devastated Hiroshima.
And now the house and bunker could be yours - Mr Thomas has put his £350,000 property on the market.
The 300sq ft cavern is 20ft below his kitchen and has 32in thick concrete walls. Stored in the bunker is enough food and water to sustain his family for a month.
It is the strongest privately-owned bomb shelter in Britain and can withstand a one megaton nuclear blast - much bigger than the 0.012 megaton 'Little Boy' dropped on Japan in 1945.
Mr Thomas said: 'I built the shelter because I was concerned about the threat of a nuclear attack.
'Who knows what will happen in the future? It wouldn't surprise me if there occurs a terrorist nuclear attack within the next 15 years.
'The room is incredibly strong and has everything you need inside. If the worst did happened it is exactly where you would want to be.'
The father-of-one, an electrical engineer, became obsessed with the nuclear threat when he served as a member of the Royal Observer Corps.
So back in 1985, he decided to build the fall-out shelter to keep his family safe at their home in Lydenford, near Brixham in Devon.
It took six months to complete with the help of a civilian engineer who built bunkers for the Ministry of Defence and cost £45,000 - or £200,000 at today's prices.
The shelter - which did not require planning permission because it is underground - has two entrances, a shaft from the kitchen or through a fake wardrobe in the study.
Each is protected by huge steel blast doors and there is also an emergency exit in case the main doors are welded shut by the blast.
The bunker has six bunk beds, its own Swiss-made ventilation system and power supply with a diesel-powered generator.
The concrete floors are covered with carpets and plywood sheets line the walls. The temperature inside remains at a constant 12C.
The hideaway is lined with girders filled with hundreds of tons of concrete and steel reinforcing bars to create walls up to 32 inches thick.
It features a 1,400-litre water tank, toilet, a small hand basin, and a phone line.
The bunker is also stocked with enough tinned and dried food to feed Mr Thomas, his partner Mandy, 37, and son Daniel, 15, for a month.
Other mod cons include a TV and DVD player, a microwave and a range of board games and books to pass the time.
He designed the shelter to ensure it would withstand an atomic bomb attack on the nearest potential military target, the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth less than two miles away.
But now Mr Thomas is selling up so he can downsize to a smaller property - and he no longer believes a nuclear attack is imminent.
'When I built the bunker I was a young man with my whole life ahead of me. I wanted to make absolutely sure my family was safe', he said.
'I'm now not as fearful of a nuclear attack as I once was. I hope it can now offer another family the same peace of mind it has given us.
'It's a good thing to have for any home. You can hide away inside and no radiation can penetrate it at all.
'The threat of nuclear attack is real and now we have got scientists warning that the Sun is going to explode.
'It could still be used as a panic room if someone came burgling the house. Or failing that it makes a great play room for kids.'