THE Harry Potter film's Wiltshire connection does not stop at Lacock it was a Corsham-based company which suggested producers Warner Brother use the picturesque village as a location.

Sarah Eastel Locations, set up six years ago, is a thriving enterprise, with a host of acclaimed productions to its credit.

Ms Eastel represents such bodies as the National Trust, English Nature and English Heritage, as well as private estates and properties across Britain.

When a television company or a film producer needs a location they contact Ms Eastel. She can match their requirements using an extensive database whether they need a Georgian mansion, a boathouse, a piece of furniture or even a certain type of tree or a stretch of grass.

The company, shortly to relocate to the Corsham Media Park, employs three additional staff who help manage around 400 productions a year in the Wessex region alone.

But the job is not over when client and location are matched up Ms Eastel also keeps a close eye on the production to make sure the heritage sites are treated with care.

"We have to make sure filming equipment doesn't damage stonework, for example. We have National Trust people watching them at Lacock to make sure it goes smoothly," she said.

"Filming can be a wonderful benefit to the property but most importantly, they mustn't leave any clues they were there. Conservation comes first."

Ms Eastel was also involved in such prestigious productions as Notting Hill, Mansfield Park and Longitude as well as television favourites Men Behaving Badly, One Foot in the Grave and Casualty.

She began negotiations with Warner Brothers in May last year for the Harry Potter locations. Meetings with residents and Lacock Abbey staff followed.

"Lots of people are staying in the village, bringing in money to the local economy. Harry Potter is the biggest film for Lacock. It could be the biggest film of the decade."

The blockbuster potential of the production has resulted in tight security which has prevented star spotters and Harry Potter fans from getting even a brief glimpse of filming at Lacock Abbey.

Signs have been posted informing curious onlookers that the abbey grounds are closed to the public, while security officials in fluorescent jackets have been quick to inform anyone walking too close to the gates that access to the grounds is not allowed. The abbey gardens have also been cordoned off.

The field in front of the abbey is covered in mobile buildings, and a clear view of the grounds has been blocked with mobile homes and three huge marquees.

Warner Brothers security completely sealed off Church Road on Friday to ensure filming at a location within the village itself remained top secret.

An employee at a local pub in Church Road said: "No-one has seen a thing. When they filmed Pride and Prejudice, and the Mayor of Casterbridge, people were still allowed to walk down the street."

Warner Brothers has gone to great lengths to keep filming under wraps, saying the mystery and magic of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone should be preserved until the film is released.

A National Trust spokesman said the abbey gardens would be open on Saturday and Sunday between noon and 5pm to let visitors view spring flowers.

But visitors would not be allowed to walk close to the abbey building.