YORK Minster is to be seen in a new light - thanks to some high-tech photographs.

York firm Skycell has used its unique Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to take more than 800 photographs of the cathedral's 14th century stained glass windows. The UAVs, which are small helium "flying saucers" carrying cameras, have captured unique aerial views of areas which cannot be seen by visitors in the same detail.

The photographs will help conservators at the Minster carry out restoration work more effectively. The images will also form part of English Heritage's National Monuments Record.

The UAVs - one is pictured left at work -- are designed and built by Skycell to be used inside delicate historic buildings.

Six small electric motors control the UAV's movements, allowing it to move precisely in any direction. It can then be guided by an operator on the ground with the aid of the live video link to screens on the ground.

In the past, stained glass could only be inspected if scaffolding was erected and this was costly and time-consuming. Now hundreds of photographs can be taken in a single day.

Updated: 11:50 Friday, April 23, 2004