Rendlesham: Village connection due to be restored today

ENGINEERS are hopeful that communication can be restored to a Suffolk village this afternoon after cable thieves brought down the network five days ago.

Scores of residents in and around Rendlesham lost telephone and internet access on Friday when copper cables were stolen from the underground exchange.

Metal thieves took more than 1,300 metres of cable from the ground, leading to some 400 reported faults in the area.

BT engineers have spent days sourcing replacement cable and feeding in new stretches through underground duct pipes, but hope to have reconnected residents by this afternoon.

A spokesman for the company said: “This is a painstaking and complex job and has now been completed allowing restoration of service to begin.

“As long as work progresses well and we don’t hit any unforeseen problems, we hope to have most people back into service by the end of today.”

The theft took place in the early hours of Friday at the junction of Acer Road. Some of the cable was left by the roadside and recovered along with damaged cable underground.

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Last year, BT recovered more than 230 tonnes of stolen metal from scrap dealers and targeted operations with the police.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has been monitoring the situation in Rendlesham closely and was pleased to hear progress had been made.

“She said: “I am glad residents will be reconnected soon. This cut-off has had such a negative impact on residents and businesses in the area.

“Metal theft is an increasing problem in the UK and is why the Government is bringing in measures to try and prevent it. Although there was an initial delay, I am pleased BT has resolved the situation”.

District councillor Terry Eastman, said: “The local community has been hit hard with local businesses losing thousands of pounds not being able to use their credit card machines, the elderly feeling cut off from the outside world, the young unable to use the internet for their homework.

“It is amazing how many ways losing your telephone connection can affect your life. “

Chairman of the parish council Colin Hay added: “If the majority of people are connected again tomorrow, then that is very good news as we were hearing reports of Sunday.

“I would also like to ask all residents to be extra vigilant as we don’t want this happening again.”

An investigation continues into the theft and police are asking anyone with information to call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.