HOUSEBUYERS in Swindon hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder could find their dream home at the base of a telegraph pole instead.

British Telecom is selling off redundant telephone repeater stations (TRSs), which some buyers are turning into homes and now two in Swindon are to be sold to the highest bidders.

The first is in the corner of the car park of The Sandgate pub off Oxford Road in Stratton St Margaret, and is expected to fetch at least £30,000.

The other, which is close to the A420 between South Marston and Acorn Bridge, should go for at least £10,000 in the auction which takes place in London on Septem-ber 15.

The brick-built buildings are more or less identical and both have 22 square feet of floor space, a roof, a door and a window and little else.

But the guide prices are so different ­ more to do with location than anything else. But auctioneer Gary Murphy of Allsops, who have sold thousands of TRSs, said interest in both properties was sure to be "keen".

He said: "We've sold thousands of these during the last 15 years and interest in them is always keen.

"Some people turn them into homes, and developers sometimes buy them for the land, but they can be put to lots of uses and even turned into a home."

The buildings became redundant because improved technology means telephone signals on long-distance lines no longer need to be boosted by repeaters.

Most buyers of the now-empty buildings usually turn them into workshops, store rooms and garages.

But with house prices soaring, some people have seen the potential of turning them into homes.

"Those are probably the minimum prices we expect to sell them for," said Mr Murphy.

"But there's no reserve so there's really no saying what the final figure will until the auction sale is complete."

Mr Murphy was unsure of the age of the properties, which are both being sold as freehold sites, but he believes that the architecture and brick used suggest they were build in the 1950s.