Ewhurst residents still without landlines after theft

Residents of a Surrey village are still without broadband and landlines more than a week after underground copper cables were stolen by thieves.

About 600 homes and businesses in Ewhurst lost their phone and internet access after the theft on 16 January.

Damien White, owner of Hazlebank Country Stores, said his business had lost about £5,000 because it could not process debit or credit card payments.

BT said its engineers had been hampered by the weather conditions.

'Not supported'

Tony Thorpe, owner of Station Garage, said the business relied heavily on the internet and telephone.

"We feel we have not been supported with all these problems and we have yet to hear from BT," he said.

"They have had seven days to get in touch with us and they still haven't made any formal contact at all."

Bar manager Tom Newcomen said his 85-year-old grandmother would not be able to contact family members if she fell.

'Complex fault'

"She's partially disabled on a zimmer frame," he said.

"I have set her up with a mobile phone but that's technology and she's got to learn to work it.

"So that means I have to go and check her every lunchtime or my dad has to go every day."

BT originally said the stolen cable would be replaced by early this week and apologised if customers did not feel they had been kept informed.

"This fault has proved a complex one to resolve and our engineers' efforts have also been hampered by the difficult weather conditions," it said in a statement.

"Engineers are now starting to restore service and if everything goes according to plan we hope to have restored service to most people before the start of the weekend."

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