Page last updated at 06:30 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 07:30 UK

'Tardis' falling into disrepair

The police box in Newport
The police box in Newport has now been fenced off for safety reasons

A community is trying to save a listed Tardis-style police box which has fallen into disrepair.

The box in Somerton, Newport, is the only one to survive in the city and one of the few remaining in the UK.

But it is now falling apart and will need thousands spent to restore it to its former glory.

During much of the 20th Century, the boxes were used to contact police officers by phone before personal radios made them redundant.

They are now perhaps better known as Doctor Who's time machine, or Tardis, in the popular television series.

The boxes were dotted around all over Newport and were the only way to contact the policemen long before they had personal radios
Councillor John Guy

Former police officer John Guy, 65, now the local councillor for the area where the police box is situated, estimated it would cost thousands of pounds to bring it up to scratch.

"What we want to do is get it back to what it was. It's started to fall apart really," he said.

"It's got concrete cancer in it and that's been the undoing of it.

"At the moment we're waiting for a surveyor to look at it and give us some idea what it's going to take to get it back to how it was."

Somerton community group Rascals is attempting to secure the necessary funds to preserve the box, which is currently fenced off for safety reasons.

Rascals chair Pat Moore said: "It's a real landmark. Older people like me like it but so do the children too.

"It would be a crying shame if it should disappear because we're quite proud of it. I think if we don't preserve it pretty soon, it would go."

Mr Guy remembers the boxes from his days as a police officer and says the light on top would flash when a call for an officer came through.

"I never used them specifically but I remember checking on them before they were all knocked down," he said.

"The boxes were dotted around all over Newport and were the only way to contact the policemen long before they had personal radios."

He said he hoped that once it was restored, it could attract fans of Doctor Who interested to see what a real police box looked like.

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