PHP/REGEX: Replace multiple <br /> tags with a single <br /> tag

Using PHP and Regular Expressions, how can I replace multiple <br /> tags with a singe <br /> tag?

For example, this:
<br>
<br /><br>    <br />  <br/>
<br />


Should become this:
<br />
LVL 16
hankknightAsked:
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Terry WoodsIT GuruCommented:
Try this:
$string = preg_replace("#(<br\s*/?>\s*){2,}#","<br />",$string);

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\s matches any space character, which can be a space, tab, line feed or new line.
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Derek JensenCommented:
You don't even need the {2,} at the end; you can just + it and that would ensure that all <br> tags are W3C compliant. :-)

I've also modified @Terry's regex to account for newlines:

$string = preg_replace("#(<br\s*/?>(\r|\n|\s|\t)*)+#","<br />",$string);

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Terry WoodsIT GuruCommented:
Thanks Derek, a + is simpler, and does replace single occurrences of a non-standard <br> tag with the standard <br /> one. The newlines were already covered by \s though, so that change is unnecessary.
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Derek JensenCommented:
Interesting, I've always had difficulty with \s finding newlines unless I used the m or s modifier; I'll have to do some more testing...

...Indeed you are right! :-)  ya learn somethin' new every day! ;-)
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Terry WoodsIT GuruCommented:
The s modifier allows the . wildcard to also match a newline (\n) character.
The m modifier makes the ^ and $ characters match the start and end of every line (with regard to \n characters) rather than just the start and end of the entire string.

Combining our improvements, the result is:
$string = preg_replace("#(<br\s*/?>\s*)+#","<br />",$string);

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Derek JensenCommented:
Yeah, I always get those two mixed up; thanks for the clarification! :-)
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Regular Expressions

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