BT cable theft repairs go wrong in Surrey

People who lost their phone connections in three Surrey villages after thieves stole underground cables were then reconnected with the wrong numbers.

Earlier this month, about 400 people in Normandy, Wanborough and Shalford. lost their service when cables were taken.

BT carried out repairs within a week, by 12 October, but some people found they still could not use their phones. Exact figures were not available.

The firm said all reported faults had now been cleared.

BT could not give an exact date for when the last fault was repaired.

However, Leslie Clarke, clerk of Normandy Parish Council, said his phone was out of order for more than two weeks.

He said: "For over two weeks we had no telephones, no internet access, no emails, absolutely nothing."

But he said that after repairs were carried out, some connections were wrong.

"I was constantly getting phone calls from people who had dialled the correct number but were getting through to me," he said.

"I was dialling parish councillors, villagers who had written to me about things and wanted an answer, and I was getting the wrong number time and time again."

Mr Clarke said thieves stole more than 1,000m (3,280 ft) of cable on 5 October.

'Crossed lines'

A spokesman for BT said: "The main works to bring in replacement cabling following this theft were completed on 12 October to clear the main bulk of the faults.

"Since that time, however, we have encountered some crossed lines and residual faults, which were not cleared following this work."

He added: "This was a very difficult and deeply complex fault to fix and involved many hours of work to painstakingly check every single line attached to the cable.

"We do understand and share the frustration of the customers for the lack of service following this criminal attack. Our engineers worked as quickly as possible in very difficult circumstances."

He said BT was working with Crimestoppers and had offered a reward of up to £1,000 for information leading to a conviction of the metal thieves.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites