THESE extraordinary photos of a massive network of underground tunnels beneath the former Taunton Police Station were snapped by Joel Oxley.

Some of the tunnels are over 250 years old and were used for decades to take prisoners between the cells and the nearby courts.

Among the prisoners attending the courts would have been petty criminals and more serious offenders, some of who would return along the tunnels after being handed the death sentence.

The police station in Shuttern closed over a year ago and local officers are now based in offices at the Deane House, in Belvedere Road.

Joel lived for a time in the former police station and managed to get into the tunnels before he moved out.

Meanwhile, Paul Kennedy, chairman of Somerset Bat Group, said: "The tunnel is an important hibernation and breeding site for Daubenton’s and Lesser Horseshoe bats, and for this reason access to the tunnel is restricted and it is illegal to enter without a licence from Natural England, the statutory nature conservation body.


"There was a suggestion in the comments section that the bats mustn’t be there as the gates would be locked otherwise – as a bat group we do not control access to the tunnels but can only conduct annual counts with the agreement of the owners."