Thousands of metres of underground cable were stolen in the village of Harby near Lincoln, leaving residents without the use of their landline telephones and, in several cases, broadband too.
Residents in Broadholme have also been impacted and Openreach engineers are working hard to resolve the issue, with repairs “likely to run into next week”.
More than 4,000 metres of underground telecommunication cable was stolen in the early hours of May 22.
It is believed the offenders accessed the cable via manhole covers and dragged out hundreds of metres of copper core cable, destroying fibre optic cable in the process. This caused damage to the network and disruption to phone and broadband services for around 200 local homes and businesses.
This isn’t the first incident this month. Around 200 premises were impacted by a cable theft in Anwick on May 19, and the repair is expected to be completed by the end of this week. Repairs are being carried out in Burgh on Bain, and will continue into next week, after an incident on May 23, which effected 200 premises.
A Harby resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Lincolnite he believes 2km of underground cable was also stolen two weeks ago and then “whilst it was being relaid last week another 1500m went missing”.
He said: “As you can imaging residents of the village are running out of patience. It is affecting the whole village.
“The biggest concern is that my wife is disabled and we often need medical assistance. Considering the poor mobile phone signal in the village, getting in touch with emergency services in the event of an issue could be life threateningly difficult.”
A spokesperson for Openreach said: “We’re really disappointed that villagers in Harby are having to bear the brunt of criminal behaviour and theft from our network.
“More than 4,000 metres of underground cable was taken earlier this week and damage to the network is causing disruption to phone and broadband services for around 200 local homes and businesses.
“Engineers are already on site and have been working overnight to restore phone and broadband to those impacted as quickly as possible. We’ve also brought in extra resource from as far away as the West Midlands.
“However, this is a huge job and despite our best efforts, repairs are very likely to run into next week due to the extent of the damage.
“We urge people to report any suspicious activity that they spot in and around our infrastructure to the police.”
Lincolnshire Police said the incident refers to the theft of cable from the Harby area of around 4,000 metres of underground cable and was reported to them at around 6am on May 22.
Police said: “Our investigation continues, no-one has been arrested at this stage.”