THE Sandbanks Ferry is not expected to be in action until the middle of this week following a raft of mechanical issues.

Service was first suspended on Wednesday and resumed briefly on Thursday afternoon before being suspended again later that day.

Ferry operators released a statement on Friday afternoon announcing repairs were ongoing and expected to be completed by Monday. However, tests will need to take place afterwards so the ferry service is unlikely to resume until the middle of this week.

"We withdrew the ferry from service on Wednesday morning when we suffered a main hydraulic drive motor failure. This was replaced with a new one within 10 hours, but unfortunately has then been succeeded by a succession of mechanical issues," a spokesperson said.

They added none of the issues could have been predicted and some had been "extremely time consuming and costly to address", namely the changing of the drive motor and a blocked radiator.

Repairs are ongoing and the ferry was out of action at the weekend.

The spokesperson added: "We have been pulling in help from specialist contractors from all over the country who have responded immediately with assistance, for which we would like to thank them.

"We are hoping that repairs will be completed by Monday, following which we will require sufficient time to test all the repairs we have had to make.

"We sincerely apologise to all our valued customers for this inconvenience, but can only assure you that we are working as hard as we can to return the ferry to service as soon as possible."