A rescue mission is underway to replace scores of images damaged in a ?freak accident? just days before they were due to be judged in a prestigious photography competition.

The Association of Photographers (AoP) was forced to postpone judging of its annual contest when water damaged 70 prints – ruining the work of 25 photographers.

?The damage occurred after debris was blown onto the roof and, with heavy rain, was washed into a roof drain where it managed to seal a downpipe, causing water to overflow in a culvert and enter the building,? said a spokeswoman for the central London gallery.

?Sadly, having first run down an interior wall, the water then ran across a ceiling several floors below, before dripping onto prints laid out on desks in an office.?

The AoP said the incident caused ?considerable worry? for those involved and has delayed judging due to start this week.

Photo lab Metro Imaging has since stepped in to reprint the photos.

The spokeswoman said today: ?Metro Imaging has started to receive the high-res images and paper choices from the photographers. They will be reprinting everything as soon as they get the info from all the photographers.

‘They have also offered each photographer a one-to-one appointment/consultation for approval of the prints, as part of this service.?

The re-scheduled judging is now set to take place next month.