THEY'RE working flat out to meet demand at a bottle company.

The Flat Bottle Company Limited hit on the idea of turning bottles into keepsakes simply by flattening them.

The firm, which employs three people in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, has notably flattened hundreds of Newcastle Brown Ale bottles, marking the fact that production was leaving north of the Tyne to south of the river.

Wedding couples have had their champagne bottles from the reception flattened for posterity and there have been requests to squash the famously dumpy Marmite jars.

The firm had humble beginnings, born out of how unwanted bottles could be turned into flattened collectors' items.

At first, bottles were turned into glass cheeseboards, some of them for cheese companies, others under the firm's other arm - The Fat Mouse Cheese Company.

The Black Sheep Brewery at Masham, near Ripon, is among growing customers selling their flattened beer bottles in the visitor centre at the brewery town.

However, the process of turning an empty bottle into a flattened one is a closely guarded secret.

But sales manager Mark Head does reveal that the flattening process takes five days.

From its small unit in Coronation Grove, Oatlands, the company now attracts export orders from as far off as the US and Singapore.

Mr Head said: "We are literally working flat out here. People have realised they can savour memories of life's important events by having a tactile presentation gift created from an original bottle."

The company can be contacted on (01423) 810483.