Hutton residents left without phone or internet for the second time in days

Residents in Hutton, Brentwood, have been left without working phone lines for the second time in 10 days, thanks to cable thieves.

On Wednesday morning, BT’s cable network in Hanging Hill Lane, Hutton, had more than 240 metres of cabling stolen from it.

It followed thefts on Monday last week, when 110 metres of cable was stolen from the same exchange.

More than 300 residents were without a landline phone or broadband internet after the first incident and the company said that at least 260 customers lost service on Wednesday.

The company said the network would not be fully restored until the end of this week at the earliest.


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Appeal for vigilance

Resident Tim Gordner, said: “This is the second time in a week that it’s been down.

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“Last time, the phone was dead for a day or so. I was expecting an important business call this morning. When I didn’t hear anything, I tried dialling out and realised the thieves had struck again.

“I don’t know when it’s going to be reinstated. And even when it is, what’s to stop them from returning and doing it all over again?”

A BT spokesman said: “Engineers are preparing to run in new lengths of cable and begin reconnecting the lines, but it will be later this week before the last customers are reconnected.

“We would appeal to local residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in or around street cabinets or manhole covers immediately.

“Network security is of paramount importance to us and we are constantly reviewing our processes to make sure our infrastructure protection is robust.

“To combat cable theft, BT’s security unit has established a nationwide intelligence-led taskforce whose strategy includes attending crime scenes, liaising closely with police and visiting scrap metal dealers.”

The company said it is working with Crimestoppers in order to offer a reward of up to �1,000 for information that leads to a conviction.

n Residents can call Essex Police on 0300 333 4444, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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