RESIDENTS and businesses on an Oxford estate were warned yesterday their phones will stay disconnected all weekend.

More than 200 families and companies in Wood Farm have been without phone lines since Thursday after water got into a cable.

BT has warned it could be several days before the fault could be fixed.

Shopkeepers in Atkyns Road, Wood Farm, had to use their mobile phones to speak to suppliers and customers, and said the fault meant they were missing lots of incoming calls.

Gemma Jones, 23, manager of Acute Cut hair salon, said: “Usually the phone doesn’t stop throughout the day and now people can’t phone up for bookings or cancellations. It’s not good for business.”

BT spokesman Emma Littlejohn said more than 200 customers had been affected.

She added: “Originally we thought the cause was malicious but now it looks like it was natural damage by water getting into the cables.

“It’s now been replaced and we are working through the weekend to fix it. We hope services will be restored on Monday.”

Newsagent Shiv Singal, 57, who works at the post office with his wife Neelam, the sub-postmaster, said: “It’s very inconvenient. You need a phone line to top up customers’ mobile phones and I use the landline to order the newspapers – I don’t want to have to use my mobile all the time.

“I would like the problem to be sorted out as soon as possible.”

Inacio Gomez, 32, manager of the Happy Cod fish and chip shop, said: “People pick up the phone and call us to order their meals and if they can’t get through, they might go somewhere else.”

Kate Wronksa, manager of Rowlands Pharmacy, said surgeries were unable to fax through patients’ prescriptions because of the fault.

She added: “We’re doing as much as we can with a mobile phone, but it’s very inconvenient.

“We get a lot of prescriptions faxed through, then we go out and deliver them to customers who are unable to pick them up.”

Pete Milligan, 32, owner of Evolution Reptiles and Pets, said: “I can’t do card transactions or send out orders online, so there could be problems at the weekend when customers don’t get their orders.

“Some lizards might have to go a day without food or eat salad instead.”

Masons Road resident Michael Nash, 61, said: “I suffer from manic depression so when Sheila (his wife) is at work, she phones up to check I am OK.”

Hayley Merrill, 31, of Leiden Road, added: “Landlines are down in my street and we haven’t been told how long it will take to fix.”