Chandler's Ford residents are stepping up their campaign to have a controversial Tetra mast removed from their neighbourhood.

Valley Park residents claim that the 75ft police communications mast in the Teviot Road area is an eyesore and could pose a health risk. Now they are hoping to repeat the campaign victory of New Forest protesters whose pressure has led to a Tetra radio mast being dismantled by Airwave MM02 at Home Farm, Hythe.

Mr Ian McQueen, who is spearheading the Valley Park campaign, said they had been keeping close contact with other pressure groups. He said that a protest petition had also been launched which would be presented to local councillors when they considered the mast issue at the end of this month.

Mr McQueen, 35, who is married with two children, said: "Residents have major health fears about the siting of this mast. No one will say whether it is 100 per cent safe.

"The mast is also visually intrusive and has an immense impact on the area. There is also a school about half a mile away."

He said since the mast had been installed people had complained of interference with TV reception.

Residents meet with MEPs Christopher Huhne and Dr Caroline Lucas, local councillor Alan Dowden and Romsey MP Sandra Gidley.

Dr Lucas has stepped into the battle to get the Tetra mast removed from land near the homes at Chandler's Ford.

She said: "Residents' fears over the safety of Tetra masts have been heightened by the fact that 170 police officers using Tetra handsets in a Lancashire trial of the system have fallen ill with symptoms ranging from migraine, burning sensations and sleeplessness to a lack of concentration.

"People's concerns about the masts supplying these handsets are real and legitimate and must be allayed before further masts are built, not after another public health scare erupts."

Aerial operator Airwave MM02 Limited has dismissed the perceived health risks as nonsense, saying that talking on a mobile phone is far more potentially hazardous than living near a mast.