BT ENGINEERS are battling to save telephone services in eastern Tadcaster, following the partial collapse of the town's bridge during flooding.

The damage to the bridge over the River Wharfe - which links the two sides of the town - severed a gas main but has left the telephone copper wires and fibre optic cables which run across the bridge dangling above the water.

The cables, which provide a service to eastern Tadcaster from a telephone exchange in the west of the town, are still working but at continued risk of being severed - particularly if there were to be any more flooding and any more of the bridge structure were to collapse.

A BT employee, Jason Palmer, said today the company was now attempting to lay new copper and fibre optic cables along the top of the bridge to ensure the service is not disrupted, even if the bridge did suffer further damage.

He said a team of 10 to 15 staff were working on the project, and had managed to get a rope across the bridge.

This could be used to pull the cables across the bridge, which could then be connected into the system, but he anticipated the work would run into next week before being completed.