A SMALL group which set out to try to save lives have said they are devastated after more than 150 heartfelt messages of hope have been ripped down from a bridge in Redditch.

The group, led by Katie Houghton, spent hours on Saturday attaching messages of hope and inspirational quotes to Muskett's Way footbridge, over the Bromsgrove Highway.

In the past the bridge has seen several suicide attempts and a number of worrying calls to police.

Numerous councillors and campaigners, including former Redditch mayor Joe Baker, have fought to have the bridge made safer including putting a cage around it saying that unless something is done lives will continue to be lost.

The idea to decorate bridges and other suicide hot-spots was started by Lucy Mathison and Megan Embleton, who have attempted to take their own lives dozens of times, who are using their experiences to help others and their aim is to save lives.

However, on Tuesday morning it became clear that all of the notes, filling the entire length of the bridge, had been torn down, leaving nothing but the cable ties used to attach them.

Redditch Advertiser:

Ms Houghton, who has a long history with mental health issues, said: "I'm devastated. I'm fuming, and heartbroken.

"I've spent two months organising this and did media interviews, spoke to people who have lost family to the bridge, and much more. I had hand written 150 notes, and other people who helped as well as their children did more."

A spokesman for Worcestershire County Council confirmed it was the council which removed them.

"In order to avoid distractions to motorists and reduce the risk of accidents it's our policy to remove any unauthorised signs and posters from the highway," they said.

"There is advice and guidance from the Samaritans on display close to the bridge.

"The council is working closely with partners, including from Redditch on a Suicide Prevention Plan. A Time to Change hub has recently been established in Worcestershire to encourage people to talk more openly and reduce the stigma around mental health."

For help and advice or to talk to someone, call Samaritans on 116 123.