A GROUP of peaceful protestors were threatened with arrest during a last-ditch attempt to stop the installation of a mobile phone mast.

Work on the 15m T-Mobile telecommunications pole, given the go-ahead after a council blunder, started on Tuesday morning outside estate agents Brennan Ayre O'Neill at Moreton Cross.

Tory Cllr Chris Blakeley along with Cllr Leah Fraser and campaigners, met engineers at the site and pleaded with workers not to go ahead.

But two police cars carrying four officers arrived at the scene and threatened to arrest the group for breach of the peace.

Cllr Blakeley was told that they were obstructing the public highway and could all be arrested if they did not disperse.

He said: "There was no need for the police to turn up mob-handed - it was a peaceful protest and we merely asked workers not to do this to the residents who followed the correct procedures in objecting to the mast in the first place.

"I was there to represent the views of my constituents who were all astounded by such a heavy-handed manner.

"It is purely down to the massive council blunder that the mast is going ahead and I am determined to continue in the fight against it."

Three other masts also given planning permission by mistake are due to be erected in Pensby, Heswall and Claughton. All were refused by two planning committees earlier this year after fierce opposition from more than 600 residents.

But the council failed to send out the decision notices within the 56-day time limit and did not realise until the company sent an email telling them that they had won deemed consent.

Cllr Blakeley added: "Our preferred outcome would have been for the workmen to go away and for T-Mobile to reconsider, taking into account the strength of local feeling."

Cllr Leah Fraser, who spearheaded a 50-person road blockade to stop an Orange phone mast in a Liscard church, accused the police of "double standards" after no such action was threatened during her own campaign.

"I can't believe that we were close to arrest just for standing on the pavement," she said.

Acting Inspector Steve Lewtas, Moreton Neighbourhood said: "Merseyside Police attended Hoylake Road following concerns raised by members of the public about the protest activities.

"We attended to help facilitate a peaceful protest and ensure that the company in attendance can go about their business in safety.

"Police officers were deployed to the scene to assess the situation and to speak to the protestors and the workmen."