REMOVAL men more used to ferrying furniture to new homes and businesses have lent their expertise to an unusual gratis client.

Watson's Removals, headquartered in Darlington, were called on by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) Hartlepool in their search to find someone to move heavy ropes from a 200-year-old warship.

HMS Trincomalee, Britain's oldest warship still afloat, is being prepared for a scanning process designed to measure the ship.

Ben Watson, director of the removals firm, said: "The rope is being moved to help clear this area of the ship’s hold for laser scanning.

"The scan of the ship will accurately measure it to the millimetre, record all the fixtures and fittings on the ship, and enable drawings and plans to be produced which will be tools for future conservation and maintenance planning.

"The outside of the ship, including the masts and rigging, will be scanned by a drone."

Roslyn Adamson, general manager of NMRN, said: “We are grateful to the team at Watson's Removals for their generosity and hard work.

"The technology and innovation involved in this practice will be vital for any future maintenance works, particularly during the planning stages.

"Our range of services and attractions at the museum’s site will remain open, with minimal disruptions, while these essential works are carried out.”