A TRADITIONAL red telephone box has been transformed into a book box in an innovative bid to save it.

The box, in Cotebrook, was set to be decommissioned by BT last year.

When members of Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council heard about this they jumped at the chance to take it over as a village landmark and quirky facility.

Geoff Hope-Terry, vice-chairman of the parish council and chairman of Weaver Valley Partnership, said: “These K6 boxes are a landmark sight in any area and it would have been a great loss if it was taken away.”

BT agreed to transfer ownership of the phone box for the nominal sum of 1p. Meanwhile, villagers were asked what they thought it could be used for.

Geoff said: “A library was suggested very early on, then we added our own twist, by making it a ‘book swap’.”

Shelving has been installed and it has been kitted out with about 60 books, donated by parish councillors.

“Anyone is more than welcome to take out a book and all we ask in return is that they replace it with one of their own,” Geoff said.

“They can take War and Peace and replace it with The Hungry Caterpillar if they want; in fact that would be great as it adds to the diversity.

“And the great thing is, they don't have to worry about return dates, which makes it even better than a traditional library.”