A BANK with a vault said to have been used to store vital documents, banknotes and even the Crown Jewels during the Second World War is set to go under the hammer.

The former NatWest bank on Fore Street in Chard boasts a vault bigger than the three storeys of the building - measuring 4,000sq ft.

It has a freehold guide price of £150,000 to £200,000 and will come up for sale by land and property auctioneers Clive Emson on February 7.

Auctioneer Graham Barton said: "At first glance this is simply a prime town centre building with the potential for a number of flats and a shop or two, with land to the rear having scope for a new-build residential scheme, plus parking and garaging.

"However, the near unique twist in the tale comes at the north of the site under a huge protective bund where there is a vast underground vault.

"Local legend has it that the Bank of England stored vital documents, banknotes and even the Crown Jewels here during the Second World War.

"How much truth lies in the tale is unknown but on the basis that the enemy aircraft knew where Threadneedle Street and the Tower of London were but had probably never heard of 7 Fore Street, Chard, it might just be true.

"It would certainly help explain the amazing 'above and below' ground feat of building and engineering."