Neighbours have heaved a sigh of relief after plans for a mobile phone mast were shelved - but they had a last minute scare first.

Campaigners in Rose Hill, Oxford, knew phone operator T-Mobile had U-turned on plans for a mast in Courtland Road - and had the letters to prove it.

But it seems the mobile phone company did not let its sub-contractors know the change of plan - and on Friday morning two workmen began digging a hole for the mast in a village green in the road.

It was not until one of the workmen asked a resident for a glass of water that neighbours realised what was going on and persuaded the workmen to down tools.

Susan Goldacre, of nearby Rose Hill, said: "We were very surprised but the workmen were very helpful and after a few telephone calls it was realised it was a mistake.

"We were pretty amazed and horrified when we saw them and now we are very relieved."

Ms Goldacre is one of hundreds of residents who had battled for two years against the plan to build a 10m mast on the green.

Neighbours were concerned about possible health implications and the fact the pole would dwarf trees and street lights on the green.

More than 350 letters were written in opposition to the proposals, and campaigners also staged a protest picnic.

The people power led Oxford City Council to reject T-Mobile's plans twice, before the operator won an appeal in June.

The company then U-turned, writing to Oxford East MP Andrew Smith and Rose Hill city councillor Ed Turner to assure them that it no longer wanted to build the mast.

When Mr Turner asked about the workmen, the company could not offer an explanation. But it has since reassured him that there are no plans to go-ahead with the construction.

Alex Tucker, who lives opposite the proposed site where Courtland Road joins Rose Hill, said: "I hope that is the end of it. It is a huge relief.

"When we started canvassing people there were hundreds who were against the phone mast being in the middle of this densely populated area.

"Rose Hill is a regeneration area and it would have been a counter-productive step."

Mr Turner said: "I am delighted that we seem to have defeated these plans for a mast once and for all.

"It would have spoiled the local area and been a kick in the teeth for local residents, who have been fighting hard to make the parade a thriving and appealing set of shops."

T-Mobile did not return the Oxford Mail's phone calls.