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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 09:32 GMT
Villagers cut off after storms
Jane and Ivor Watson
Mr and Mrs Watson need phone lines for business
Villagers have been left without phone links since storms hit East Angia 11 days ago.

Many residents of Hawstead near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, Gestingthorpe near Sudbury in Essex and the tiny hamlet of Barham in Cambridgeshire, do not know when their phones will be working again.

British Telecom has promised it is doing all it can to reconnect the last few households affected.

But Jane and Ivor Watson of Barham, are now demanding compensation for the delay.

Jane Watson inspects broken phone line
Mrs Watson inspects the broken phone line
"The only reason they gave my husband was that they hadn't got enough platforms to go up the pole and fix the wire," said Mrs Watson.

The couple need their phones for business, and because Mrs Watson's heart condition means she occasionally has to contact the hospital.

In Hawstead, Eric Massey said residents were running up mobile bills trying find out from BT what was being done.

"We can't get the free phone service, obviously, so we're paying premium rates to make the complaint.

"We can't even use the internet as an alternative way of whingeing, if you like."

BT said it was trying hard to rectify the problem, using all available staff every day including weekends.

It promised work will begin in Gestingthorpe on Thursday to replace a telegraph pole and put a new cable in place.

See also:

06 Nov 02 | England
28 Oct 02 | England
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