Hornchurch residents latest victims of Guinea-Bissau phone fraud

18:00 24 July 2014

Rod Ballard

Rod Ballard


Puzzled residents fear they are the latest phone fraud victims after their bills showed hundreds of pounds of calls to west African nation Guinea-Bissau.

From Hornchurch to Guinnea-BissauFrom Hornchurch to Guinnea-Bissau

The four victims, from the Hornchurch and Elm Park areas, all deny they made the pricey international calls which took place over the same hours at the beginning of the month.

Rod Ballard, 51, of Grey Tower Gardens, was billed more than £500 for 55 six-minute calls to three different numbers.

He was alarmed to read in the Recorder that he was not the only victim.

Mr Ballard happens to be a phone expert and has worked in the telecommunications industry for 30 years.

Steven Roome says his landline has been hacked and on Friday night calls were made to Guinea Bissau in west Africa every 6 minutes all night totalling £385.60.Steven Roome says his landline has been hacked and on Friday night calls were made to Guinea Bissau in west Africa every 6 minutes all night totalling £385.60.

He reckons that the technique being used this time is much more “sophisticated” than in previous attacks of so-called “teeing” – where green boxes in the streets are tampered with to make fraudulent calls.

Often, he said, residents down one road may be targeted by hacking one of the cabinets, owned by BT company Openreach. But these victims are all supplied by different boxes.

And all of the calls started late at night on July 4 and ended about 6am the next day.

Mr Ballard said: “It looks like multiple people targeting more than one cabinet, someone using autodialers, or perhaps someone at the telephone exchange up to no good.”

He recalled an incident at Covent Garden Telephone Exchange 20 years ago where this happened.

Duane Miller, 30, of Ullswater Way, was struck with a “ridiculous” bill of £350, which like the others he is trying to claim back.

Steve Roome, of High Street, supposedly made nearly £400 of calls despite admitting: “I didn’t even know where Guinea- Bissau was.”

John Thornborrow, 31, of Windermere Avenue, was billed nearly £200 for the international calls. He said that provider Zen was being “careful” about giving him a refund.

Openreach have not responded to the Recorder’s request for comment.

If you find fraudulent calls to Guinea-Bissau on your bill contact Sam on 0208 477 3892 or

Read more:

‘I didn’t even know where Guinea Bissau was’ - Hornchurch ‘fraud’ victim charged hundreds for calls to west Africa

Havering councillor warns residents on scam phone calls

Harold Hill woman escapes jail after £76,000 benefit fraud

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:10
Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson with her national journalism award

Recorder reporter Hayley Anderson was highly commended in a national journalism awards evening in Birmingham last night.

Yesterday, 15:45
Time FM Steve Allen will host the chat with the Recorder's Chris Carter and Laura Burnip

A swan that got police in a flap, term-time holidays and Havering’s mirocpub were the topics covered on today’s Recorder paper review on Time 107.5FM.

Yesterday, 13:29
Ryan Machin and his mother Michelle Bennett at their home in Romford after Ryan took the last British Airways flight back from Sharm el-Sheikh to London

A 17-year-old who worked in a hotel in Sharm el-Sheikh was one of the last passengers to be repatriated to the UK and calls on people not to be afraid to return to the holiday resort.

Yesterday, 11:28
Two fire engines attended a house fire at an address in Park Lane, Hornchurch on Wednesday evening and a man was rushed to hopistal where he was treated for smoke inhalation

A man was rushed to hospital for smoke inhalation after firefighters were called at a flat in Hornchurch on Wednesday evening.

Yesterday, 10:57
Boys born in Cranham will live healthily for 17 years longer than those in Harold Hill

New statistics show the inequality in expectations for our children

Yesterday, 07:00
A woman was tied up in a burglary

A mother-of-two feared for her life as masked burglars forced their way into the family home and tied her up while her young children played in the living room.

Thu, 16:30
Last night's full council meeting saw decisions being made on the release of £83million to build new affordable homes and the expansion of at least five primary schools

Councillors have agreed to release £83million to provide affordable housing in the borough, expand at least five primary schools to ease the shortage of school places and pledged to ensure more work opportunities for adults with autism in last night’s full council meeting.

Thu, 14:27
Police were called at 12.58pm in the proximity of the Brewery shopping centre in Romford

Trains stopped going through Romford station after police reported a suspicious vehicle in proximity of The Brewery.

Most read news

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder