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Copper pipe thieves cut off BT landlines

PUBLISHED: 16:59 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 16 August 2010

BRAZEN thieves posed as telecoms engineers to steal copper cable cutting the lines of hundreds of residents. Two men donning British Telecom (BT) uniform stole hundreds of metres of telephone cables in broad daylight throughout Keston and Orpington. The

BRAZEN thieves posed as telecoms engineers to steal copper cable cutting the lines of hundreds of residents.

Two men donning British Telecom (BT) uniform stole hundreds of metres of telephone cables in broad daylight throughout Keston and Orpington.

The thieves have left some 700 residents stranded without telephone or internet connection for over a week and at the time of going to press, many are still without lines.

In the first attempt in Gleeson Drive, Orpington, on October 17, the thieves didn't manage to get the cable but they did wreck a connection, ruining service for around 300 homes.

A second successful theft on October 24 left a further 400 householders without lines.

A Keston resident, who didn't want to be named, said two men were seen wearing BT jackets arriving in a van and took the cable in broad daylight.

He said: "They were very clever, they know noone would bat an eyelid because it would just look like they were doing some maintenance."

He added: "It's been chaos and we have been without phone lines for a week. Some people got connected but were receiving calls that weren't meant for them. BT have been doing their best, it must be a hard job. One of my phone lines got connected but the other one isn't working yet."

Engineers have been working round the clock on fixing the problem and it's thought that the damage costs could run in to tens of thousands of pounds.

Asked what BT is doing to avoid further thefts, a spokesperson, said: "Obviously we can't explain exactly what we're doing for security reasons but the work is ongoing.

"We're still working on the lines in Orpington. We're expecting the majority to be back on this week. The damage caused has meant we have had to go through all the lines individually.

"Our engineers are working from 7am to 10pm to repair the damaged cable and then restore customer's service back.

"It is a time consuming task and we are committed to getting everyone's service back as quickly as possible."

A Bromley police spokesman confirmed the thefts had been reported.

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