HOMES and business have been cut-off for the third time in a fortnight after thieves again stole cabling near Castle Ashby, leaving the village without phone lines and the internet.
The brazen theft of 800 metres of cable happened in the early hours of yesterday morning, just two days after engineers had restored phone lines, internet and broadband following the last theft.
Thieves removed the cabling at about 11.30pm on Wednesday, hitting up to 30 homes and 20 businesses in Castle Ashby Rural Shopping Yard.
Engineers spent the weekend repairing the line only for thieves to return and dig up cabling again yesterday morning.
The theft is the second time in a week and the third time in a fortnight that the village has been cut-off following similar cable thefts.
Traders at Castle Ashby Village have severely hit by the theft, which has left businesses unable to use their PDQ card machines and unable to place online orders. Shopkeepers have described the situation as “crazy”.
James Bache, of Star Digital, who are based in Castle Ashby village, said they were now once again without phones or internet.
He said: “The whole area has gone down again. This time they’ve actually gone into the farmer’s field and dug under the bushes to get to the same place as they did it before.
“We found out yesterday (Wed) morning when one of my colleagues spoke to the engineer because if you ring BT, they tell you nothing.”
He added: “The phone lines are still down and are likely to be for three or four days. They are a life-line as far as we are concerned because we are completely cut off - 90 per cent of what we do is online so we are pretty screwed.”
Matt Battison, of Mr B’s sweet shop, said he had been made aware of the latest theft after alarms at neighbouring shops in the village were triggered at around 12.45am yesterday morning. He said: “It is crazy. We have no internet in the village and all of my orders and quotes are all internet based so for me it is just a pain. It has pretty much hit everyone yet again.
“We put a lot of work in to build up our profile and then people come to shop here and we haven’t got any card machines and it just reflects badly on the yard.”
A spokesman for BT confirmed up to 400 phone lines are affected but hoped to have the majority restored by this evening. She said: “This really does show what a knock-on effect this sort of crime has on the local community. Our engineers have been working through the night and will start re-establishing each line one by one from early today. We hope to have most people back on by the close of play today.
“We would appeal to people to be extra vigilant now, look out for anything suspicious and tell the police should they see anything untoward. We do rely on people being our eyes and ears when it comes to this kind of crime.”