PROTESTORS fighting to a stop a mobile phone mast returned home after their protest at the headquarters of T-Mobile to find the mast was already being put up.

Thirty five villagers from Bishampton, near Pershore, took a coach trip to Hatfield, the headquarters of the telecommunications giant, to mount a peaceful protest against the plans.

But when they got back from the HQ on Wednesday they found cable contractors had already begun work putting up the mast.

The villagers demand that plans for a mobile phone mast in the centre of their village are thrown out and that the mast is placed at a "safe distance" from their homes.

During the protest villagers said no-one from T-Mobile attempted to speak to them although a spokesman from T-Mobile said he was not aware of any formal request to meet with company representatives.

The campaign to have the mast placed outside the village has been running since February.

Campaign spokesman Duncan Burtoft said: "In the early stages T-Mobile did speak with campaign representatives but this compassion turned out to be a sham. The people of Bishampton realise that T-Mobile have the weight of the law in their favour but feel that a major corporate business should show more compassion in the weight of such strong feelings.

"We're not NIMBYS - even though there is no need for this installation in our village on any grounds whatsoever we accept that the installation is inevitable - we merely want a compromise on its location. We also accept that health fears are not proven but our request is based on the precautionary approach' as advised by the government's own scientific advisor, Sir William Stewart."

Villagers also hand-delivered a letter to Jim Hyde, chief-executive of T-Mobile, saying phone coverage is already good in the village and that there remain concerns about health risks caused by masts.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said: "As we have stated for some time now it's our intention to carry on with work installing the base station and work is on-going. Of course we were aware of their presence and they handed in a letter addressed to the chief executive. I am not aware they made any request to speak with company representatives."

He was unable to confirm when work on the mast would be completed.