Residents cut off for days as thieves hit BT manholes again

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CABLE thieves have cut the phone lines to another South Yorkshire village, prompting a community stalwart to dip into his pocket to help some of the vulnerable victims.

Some housebound elderly residents of Dunsville in Doncaster have been given emergency mobile phones by one of their councillors because it could be several days before BT can re-connect them.

It is the latest in a spate of stolen underground phone cables which earlier this summer saw thousands of lines in Lindholme, Stainforth and Arksey go dead for several days at a time.

BT say they will be working round the clock to replace the cables stolen from beneath manhole covers on Thorne Road, between Edenthorpe and Dunsville, in the early hours of Tuesday.

Hatfield town councillor Mick Glynn became aware the phone and internet links had been cut at 3am on Tuesday.

“We have a load of elderly residents in the village who have now got no contact with the outside world,” he said.

“It’s essential to keep these people in contact so I have bought five £20 mobiles with free credit on them which I have distributed to some of them.

“I’ve also checked on some of them and I urge other people in Dunsville to do the same.”

Coun Glynn has urged the police and BT to do more to counter the cable thieves.

“How much is this costing BT? I think they should put alarms on the manhole covers so when they are disturbed the thieves will be caught or deterred.

“The police should also be targeting these unscrupulous scrap dealers who know the metal must be stolen. People’s lives are being put at risk and this should be a crime priority.”

A spokesman for BT said three cables were taken from Thorne Road, near the Armthorpe Lane roundabout.

“At this time we have 126 customer faults reported but there could be a lot more who have not reported faults.

“Engineers will work round the clock to complete repairs and although we have no definite completion date as yet we are hopeful they will be complete by the end of the week.”

The spokesman also urged local communities to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities.

A Doncaster police spokesman said around 150m of telephone cable was stolen from near Armthorpe Lane, running along the A18 towards Edenthorpe.

“Premises in the area have been affected with telephone lines being cut off.”

Crimestoppers, as a result of the high number of attacks in the Doncaster area, are offering an enhanced reward of up to £2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of offenders.

BT say members of the public should be particularly vigilant and report people working at the roadside at unusual times - people not wearing hi-visibility clothing and using un-liveried vehicles, evidence of scrap cable or sheathing on waste ground, sightings of thick black smoke in rural locations and descriptions of suspicious vehicles with registration numbers if possible.

- Police are urging anybody who may have seen anything suspicious or have information that could help to contact them on 0114 220 2020 quoting incident number A/80505/2011 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”