A BUSINESSMAN has slammed cable thieves who have left his company without phone lines for most of September.
Kevin Twell is general manager at the steel fabrication business Twelco Engineering Ltd, located in Sandtoft, and he said that three times this month thieves have ripped out communication cables, crippling the firm’s day-to-day running operations.
There have also been reports of similar thefts in both Westwoodside and West Butterwick with residents also suffering several days without a landline service.
Mr Twell has reported the incident to both BT and the police, adding that his staff are having to use personal mobile phones to carry out everyday business.
He said: “We were off for nine days while the cable was first stolen because it took BT that long to respond to it. Lines were then back on for a week but the cables were then stolen again.
“I spoke to BT on Friday of last week and was told the line would be back up and running but now it has happened again. Apparently, the cable needs to be ordered in.
“It’s not just us affected, there are other businesses round here and it’s obviously a widespread issue.”
Mr Twell said his staff were having to cope without their four phone lines and a fax service, making it difficult to reach customers from as far away as Australia and the USA.
“We are running around offices using personal mobiles to try and alleviate the problem,” he added.
“It’s like being back in the Dark Ages, absolutely ridiculous. It’s causing major disruption and what are the police doing about it?”
Mr Twell has written to Isle MP Andrew Percy about the situation and he is also concerned about non-commercial customers.
He added: “In this day and age it’s hard enough in the economic climate, but it’s not just from a business point of view, pensioners need access to emergency services. This has to be rectified.”
BT media relations manager Amy Abela confirmed the company was aware of cable thefts in the three Isle villages.
She added: “Our Metal Theft Task Force is investigating these incidents to gather intelligence and only last week there was a joint operation with the South Yorkshire Police which resulted in the arrest of a gang responsible for some thefts in the vicinity.
“We take the problem of cable theft extremely seriously and are doing all we can to combat these metal theft incidents with the use of SmartWater technology and other security measures.
“Metal theft is becoming a growing concern for many utilities and thieves rarely seem to realise the impact it has on local communities.”