Passengers stranded at Stansted after lightning strikes ground planes

Lightning struck the airport's aircraft fueling system overnight

Flights in and out of Stansted Airport in London have been cancelled, diverted or delayed after a lightning strike damaged its aircraft fuelling system.

The airport is urging passengers to check the status of their flight before travelling.

However hundreds of passengers have been left sitting on grounded planes and stuck in departures awaiting news.

It follows dramatic storms that delivered up to 20,000 lightning strikes right across the UK last night.

Flights to and from Dublin are among those diverted or delayed as many people attempt to leave after returning #HomeToVote.

In a statement on Twitter this morning Stansted Airport said: "Due to an earlier lightning strike the aircraft fuelling system was unavailable for a period this morning.

"Engineers have been on site and have now restored the system, however flights may still be subject to diversion, delay or cancellation.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and advise all passengers to check with their airlines for their latest flight updates."

Flights have been diverted to destinations as far away as the East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport.

Several passengers tweeted their frustration at being told to board planes, only to then sit on the craft for hours without take-off.

One passenger, Lorraine Townley, said: "@Ryanair if you know that you have no access to fuel and all flights from Stansted are delayed why make us board the plane to sit on here for hours waiting for you to fix the issue? It's boiling hot and we aren't even being given free water. Making more money off us!"

Emily Morgan told Sky News her flight to Ibiza with Ryanair, scheduled to depart at 8.45am, was still on the tarmac at 10.15am and said she did not get much information.

She said: "We were due to take off at 8:45 but no information on when we will be refilled. The plane next to us was due to take off at 6:05 but is still sat there.

"People are really cross that there was no information or warning of the delays at the airport and we were allowed to board knowing there was 3 hour plus delays.

"The bar has been opened but been offered nothing complimentary."

In a statement, Ryanair said: “A number of flights have regrettably been cancelled at Stansted Airport this morning due to an earlier airport fuelling system failure, caused by a lightning strike.

“All affected customers are being contacted and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer on to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative routing.

“We apologise to all customers affected by these disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control.”