A HATCH END mother of two fears that a mobile phone mast near her home could be the reason two local residents have been struck down by cancer.

Six months ago, Janine Lazarus, of Colburn Avenue, successfully led a public campaign to stop O2's plans to extend the size of its 3G mast near her home.

Now the mobile phone giant is appealing that decision and the 48-year-old has been forced to resume her "David and Goliath" battle.

O2 wants to extend the mast - which is just 52 metres from her house - to 17-and-a-half metres high, double the number of antenna to 12, install two satellite dishes and place three equipment cabinets around it. Janine, her husband Paul, 13-year-old son Adam and four-year-old daughter Eliana, can already see the mast from the back garden of their home.

The initial application was rejected by the council on the grounds of excessive proliferation near to homes and damage to visual residential amenity.

Mrs Lazarus was warned not to raise concerns over the health effects of the mast - but now she fears for the safety of her children after it was revealed that two women living on the same street near the mast have been struck down by cancer. The women - who the Harrow Times will not name out of respect for their privacy - have both been diagnosed since the mast was erected without prior public consultation in November 2004.

Mrs Lazarus said high radiation readings were discovered in her home by a special monitor used by campaign group Power Watch, which was recently featured on BBC One's Panorama programme.

She said the phone company dismissed these readings as it claims that there was no scientific evidence between cancer and phone masts, although it has been the focus of investigation for decades.

Mrs Lazarus said: "I believe that the illnesses could well be strong evidence of the high levels of radiation emanating from the mast.

"I also strongly believe that unless action is taken to not only prevent the mast from being increased, but to move it away to a safer location, then it is highly likely that more people will be seriously affected in the future."

T-mobile will also have joint usage of the mast, which was erected on a Green Belt site on farmland at Pinner Wood Farm.

O2 community relations manager Jim Stevenson said: "There has to be at least one metre between our antennas and T-mobile's otherwise they will interfere with each other and that is why there has been such a big increase in height."

He said there was no evidence that the masts contributed to any type of illnesses, including cancer, and offered to meet Mrs Lazarus to discuss the issue.

He said: "We are very sorry for these two people, but we contend that it is nothing to do with us."

The mast does comply with industry regulations, however Mrs Lazarus said a more cautious approach in placing phone masts near to schools and homes should be taken.

The Government is currently reviewing the voluntary code of conduct which mobile phone companies abide by when looking for suitable locations for new masts and Mr Stevenson said O2 welcomed "anyone" to look at how the industry operates.

He added: "If the Government makes any changes, O2 as a company will not be crying about it."

Mrs Lazarus is urging local residents to voice their concerns against the mast by writing to the Planning Inspectorate. She said: "Many residents do not know about this appeal which is why it needs to be publicised and give your readers the opportunity to voice their opinions."

n Residents have until Thursday, July 12, to submit their concerns, quoting PINS Ref. APP/M5450 /A/07/2045205NWF to: The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/14 Eagle, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.