FORTY-six telephone boxes could be axed across East Lancashire - including six which might not even work.

BT bosses are proposing to withdraw pay phones as part of a closures programme across Ribble Valley and Burnley.

But council chiefs in Clitheroe say the move would be affect some of the most remote parts of the county.

And they insist the telecoms giant should think again as mobile phone signals, especially across the Forest of Bowland are unreliable at best.

Marshal Scott, Ribble Valley Council's chief executive, has formally objected to the removal of 40 sites across the borough.

And he has especially challenged the cutting of call boxes on or near Lane Ends, Grindleton, The Shireburn Arms Hotel in Hurst Green, The Coach and Horses Hotel in Bolton-by-Bowland, Mitton Church, Talbot Bridge Road in Bashall Eaves and Walker Fold in Chaigley.

Mr Scott says there is evidence the handsets at each of the locations has been vandalised at some point over the past 12 months and any data regarding usage would be unreliable.

Cllr Alison Brown, chairman of Ribble Valley's planning committee, said: "The council is co-ordinating the community response to the proposed closures and has sent its initial findings to BT.

"Mobile phone reception in Ribble Valley is patchy and there are numerous wireless 'not spots' in the borough, so some phone boxes provide a vital service."

In some cases there may not be another call box for more than six miles, according to the council's own figures.

Borough chiefs are also concerned about the impact on tourism, as hikers, cyclists and campers being affected by any withdrawals. Some of the sites are said to be situated close to recognised accident blackspots.

If anyone is looking to back the council's case they are being asked to contact their regeneration team on 01200 425111 by noon on Friday.

Similar plans have been announced for Burnley with boxes in Calderbrook Ave, Lyndhurst Road, Sycamore Avenue, Hargher St, Dryden Street, River Drive and Burnley Road in Padiham and Whitefield St, Hapton, potentially affected.

Three years ago BT proposed the removal of up to a third of the county's call boxes.