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Bungled raid puts phone lines down
WOULD-BE thieves who tried to steal cable have left more than 400 homes on the outskirts of Oxford without phone and internet services.
Villagers in Dry Sandford, Wootton and Boars Hill first reported problems with their phone lines after the thieves struck on Tuesday.
And last night it emerged it could take until next week to rectify the problems.
Police said they were called to Foxcombe Road, in Boars Hill, to reports of an attempted cable theft.
A spokesman said it appeared as if someone had tampered with a manhole cover to gain access to underground British Telecom (BT) cable close to the junction with Chiswick Lane, but left before completing the theft.
Officers are now appealing for witnesses.
Wootton resident Edward Measey said villagers were desperate for information.
The father of three said: “No one seems to know what is going on.
“It’s not so much the phone lines as most people have a mobile, but it is frustrating being without internet.”
Cynthia Warmington, from Sunningwell, said the problem had reached parts of her village too. Last night BT said they were working hard to fix the fault and apologised to customers if they had been misinformed.
Spokesman Emma Liitlejohn said: “Sometimes if a fault has just occurred it can take a few hours for the information to filter down, and sometimes things get lost in translation.“ She added: “Our teams are working and starting to restore service to those affected in the area.
“We expect this to take at least the whole weekend to complete the works, it depends a little on the weather and any other further damage found.
“We have leafleted the area and will be working hard to try to catch those responsible for the damage and disruption.”
Ms Littlejohn added cable thefts cost the company millions across the network each year.
Police are investigating and said no one had been arrested.
Anyone with information about the attempted cable theft can call the police non-emergency police number 101.