A man who accidentally sliced through a phone cable in his front garden more than two years ago has been landed with a shock bill of £25,000 from BT.
BT said the damage had a significant impact on customers
David Brown, 40, accidentally pushed a fence post through a line in the front garden at his home in Rings End, near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, in April 2002.
The furniture sprayer has now received a huge bill and given 21 days to pay.
BT says Mr Brown had been told about its intention to claim the money more than a year ago.
"I had no idea the cable was in the front garden," said Mr Brown. "I was just getting on with my work.
"The next day a man from BT came round and said the exchange had found a fault and linked it to me.
"He took a few photos but I didn't hear anything from them for a year. I thought they must have let the matter rest as I hadn't heard anything from them for so long."
BT wrote to Mr Brown in April 2003 and said he would be charged for damaging half a metre of phone cable and for restoring phone lines to a number of nearby customers.
In April 2004 Mr Brown then received a bill for £25,780.
He said: "I just couldn't believe it. It has taken them two years to get that bill to us and now they want the money in just 21 days."
Michael Wadley, a spokesman for BT, confirmed the company had billed Mr Brown.
"The damage caused a significant impact," he said. "We are very anxious to discuss the situation with Mr Brown."
Mr Brown added he was contacting his insurance company to see if the damage would be covered.