Elmstead Market disconnected after cable theft attempt

Would-be thieves who tried to steal underground cables left hundreds of Essex villagers without telephone access, police say.

BT said some residents have suffered problems for five days, after Elmstead Market near Colchester was targeted.

The attempted cable theft damage has left some villagers without a landline or internet connection.

BT said it had about 65 faults left to clear and hoped to restore all lines by the end of Wednesday.

'Really weird'

The loss of the telephone lines has left shops, including a petrol station, unable to take card payments and residents unable to use the internet at home.

Gary Smith, head teacher at Market Field School, said phone calls stopped coming into the school last Friday.

"It was strange," he said. "It was really weird."

A spokesman for BT said: "We have suffered cuts to underground cables in an apparent attempted theft of cabling, which is affecting some services at the moment.

"Engineers have been onsite over the weekend repairing damage, recovering and putting in new cables."

Essex Police is investigating the incident.

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