Village phone used to call sex lines
By David LennardA TELEPHONE installed in a village hall for use in emergencies has had to be removed - after it was used for premium rate calls to a sex line.
By David Lennard
A TELEPHONE installed in a village hall for use in emergencies has had to be removed - after it was used for premium rate calls to a sex line.
The phone has been in the village hall in Holton for many years, but its management committee has now taken the decision to remove it.
Over the years the cost of the phone bill has been rising steadily with little or no contributions made for the cost of calls by some hirers of the village hall.
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But the last straw for the management committee was when the phone was used to make expensive premium rate calls to sex lines.
Michael Hart, vice-chairman of the committee, said: “It is very sad, but really we have been left with no choice.
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“The telephone was installed in the kitchen for use in emergencies, but the hall is run as a charity and we cannot afford to pay out large telephone bills. It is a great pity, but we hope that users of the hall understand the position we are in.”
Because the phone has been used to make premium rate calls, the committee has lost its “low user discount” so all other calls have become more expensive.
“We have no choice but to pay the bills, but this is the last thing we need to be doing,” said Mr Hart.
“Like other village halls, we have a number of expenses to keep up with the kind of facilities required by the latest legislation.
“By next year we will have to install warm-air blowers to replace towels in the toilets, so it is vital that we spend what money we have as wisely as possible.”
The management committee decided against replacing the telephone with a payphone because of fears it could become a target for thieves.
Now people using the hall are being asked to bring a mobile telephone for use in emergencies.
Management committee treasurer, Peter Jones, said: “It is not unreasonable to expect all occasional hirers to ensure that a mobile phone is brought to the hall for emergencies.
“All regular users of the hall are being advised to purchase a mobile phone dedicated for their club/society.”
Members of the hall's management committee stressed regular hirers of the hall were not involved in the misuse of the phone because the time of the calls coincided with various occasional casual lettings.