TWO body shop workers from the same garage have beaten nationwide competition to win motor industry accolades.

Apprentice panel beater Simon Noble, 19, was named young panel technician of the year at the ninth annual Bodyshop magazine industry awards in London.

The teenager had been one of three shortlisted finalists, chosen from hundreds of technicians from across the UK after a series of tough tests at the Thatcham Institute of Motor Repair and Research, in Berkshire.

Senior panel technician Emlyn Cerry, who works at the same Simon Bailes car dealership at Stockton, was in the final three in the panel beater of the year category.

Mr Noble was presented with a trophy by Bodyshop magazine editor Heather Grant and Thatcham chief executive Peter Roberts in front of more than 800 guests.

Mr Noble, from Billingham, said: "When I was told I had made it as a finalist, I was absolutely thrilled, but to win is fantastic."

Managing director Simon Bailes said: "These prestigious awards recognise and reward excellence within the automotive repair and refinish industry, and the achievement of Simon and Emlyn cannot be underestimated."