A FORMER Government office tower block branded an eyesore is being put to good use before it gets demolished.

Quantock House, in Paul Street, Taunton, has been taken over by Royal Marines from 40 Commando this week as part of a training exercise.

They have been practising techniques that could stand them in good stead for future operations.

Somerset County Gazette:

Sgt Adam Lesley said: "As Marines, we specialise in assault, normally in mountainous terrain and coming in from the sea.

"In recent years, we've been developing our urban capability.

"Finding suitable training facilities in the UK is quite difficult, but Quantock House is ideal for us."

The Commandos honed their climbing skills to scale the eight-storey building, with a specialist climber going up first and putting ropes in place so his colleagues could follow.

Somerset County Gazette:

Sgt Lesley added: "We created a scenario whereby the bottom of the building was fortified or locked.

"It's vital to get into the building from the top because it's easier fighting from top down.

"These are techniques we've been developing for some time and it was great to have some civilians with us providing equipment and helping teach techniques.

"The techniques we practised could potentially be used if there was a terrorist or enemy force that had control of lower floors of the building.

"We've been practising how we make entry to the building and how we get to the stage where we can neutralise the target."

Somerset County Gazette:

Quantock House used to house the Valuation Office and Defra, but has fallen into decay after being empty for several years.

Bournemouth-based Quantum Group has permission to take it down and replace it with a care home complex.

Kate Greatrix, head of community engagement at Quantum, said: “We are pleased to be able to let the Royal Marines use our site for training purposes in their efforts to keep the nation safe.”