The looming shadow of war has made a young York couple switch their honeymoon plans from sunny Turkey - to the sophisticated charms of Belgium.

Scott Precious and Jennifer Newton have pulled out of their long-awaited honeymoon trip to the Mediterranean coast because of fears about the region's stability.

The couple, who have been together for six years and are to be married in April, felt the threat of war with Iraq was one worry they could do without before their big day.

Unemployed Scott, 29, of Argyle Street, South Bank, said the difficult decision has left him £200 out of pocket on the planned £1,600 holiday after he lost his deposit.

He said: "We didn't want to go to Turkey because it is near to Iraq, and although it is not involved with any possible war it is too close for comfort."

Scott said Jennifer, who works as a primary school teacher in Malton, had been worrying about the trip since tensions started rising in the Middle East last year.

The couple are now looking forward to a week's holiday in Brussels, where they plan to indulge their passion for architecture. Scott said: "We might not get a tan, but at least we will be safe."

Manager Catherine McKay, of Global Travel, in Bishopthorpe Road, York, said she was "powerless" to return the £200 deposit as it had been passed on to the tour operator, Anatolian Sky.

She said the couple had not asked for a refund directly from the travel agent and had instead written to the tour operator.

Anatolian Sky marketing manager Karin Kospialova said holidays would only be cancelled and deposits returned if the Foreign Office said travel to the region was unsafe.

She said the couple could have asked to transfer their holiday to a European city break destination without losing their deposit.

The Foreign Office said there was no evidence of a threat of global terrorism in Turkey. It advised UK nationals, however, to "be aware of the indiscriminate risk of terrorist attacks, in all countries of the world".

Updated: 11:21 Thursday, February 13, 2003