A village in Oxfordshire remains without a phone service despite the operator saying it would be fixed today (August 14).

Ardington near Wantage has had no signal for nearly two weeks after thieves stole more than 500 metres of underground copper cable.

Around 400 homes and businesses in Ardington near Wantage have been affected by the outage, which has caused “distress” and “anxiety” among residents.

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Openreach, who manage the line, said they are sorry that “residents were having to bearing the brunt of criminal behaviour.”

Residents have raised concerns about the lack of communication from Openreach with different people receiving different messages.

Angela, landlady of The Boar’s Head pub explained that the situation was negatively affecting her business, with people unable to make bookings.

Oxford Mail: The Boar's Head in Ardington The Boar's Head in Ardington (Image: The Boar's Head)

She added: “People in Ardington cannot ring the doctors or contact their families. Some of the villagers are very distraught.”

Resident Simon Handley said: “My elderly father lives on his own in the village and we are unable to communicate with each other.

“He is vulnerable and likes to know that the phone is there if he needs anything. He is very anxious not having the phone.

“My main concern is that if his doctor or the hospital are trying to contact him, they will think he is not answering.

“I have been unable to contact anyone in the phone company who can let us know exactly what is happening and what the resolution is. It is so frustrating.”

Openreach was contacted for comment on the lack of phone and broadband signal in Ardington.

An Openreach spokeswoman said: “Our network in Ardington has been badly damaged by the theft of more than 500 metres of a large underground copper cable, impacting phone and broadband service to around 400 local homes and businesses.

“Engineers have been doing their best to restore phone and broadband quickly and safely and repairs are progressing well, but there’s still a lot of work to do.  We have had our traffic management permit extended and expect all repairs to be complete by the end of this week.

“We’re really disappointed that residents in and around Ardington are having to bear the brunt of criminal behaviour and theft from our network. 

"These attacks cause unacceptable disruption to the lives of local people and put vulnerable people at risk.

“We’re already using anti-theft technology to help track stolen cable and convict criminals and our Security team is working closely with Thames Valley Police along with organisations like Crimestoppers, the National Crime Agency, British Transport Police and Network Rail, to tackle the problem together.

“We encourage anyone who is still experiencing problems to contact their provider who will advise us. 

"We also urge people to call 101 to report any suspicious activity to the police. 

"Examples of this activity include seeing people lifting manhole lids or unusual activity around our network in fields late at night, particularly if it involves 4x4 vehicles. 

"If members of the public do believe a crime is in progress then they should dial 999.  You can find more information about what we’re doing to tackle metal theft, along with a link to report cable theft to Openreach directly here.

“It’s also worth remembering that vulnerable status (which can prioritise repair work) is determined by broadband providers. If you think you or a family member should be given this status, please register with your provider.”