Cable thieves strike again in Crow Country

CABLE thieves have struck near Ashwell, cutting off communication and disrupting local business.

They made off with BT cable last Tuesday and have left several local companies without phonelines and internet connection for six days - with one garage owner losing an estimated 75 per cent of his trade.

David Crooks, owner of Greenfield Service Station and The Odsey Service Station, located either side of the A505, said: “Obviously we can’t take credit cards or fuel cards, we can’t do MOTs, people can’t ring up to inquire about cars.

“BT won’t be out until Monday, it’s going to be Monday before it’s going to be repaired because they don’t have the cable. which we find totally unacceptable.

“This is the fourth time in three years the same piece of cable on the same piece of road has been stolen,” added the 63-year-old.

The nearby Jester Hotel was also hit leaving them unable to take bookings and inconveniencing guests.

Natasha Hopkins, manager, said: “We don’t have a phone, we don’t have internet connection, we don’t have wi-fi - the customers are all complaining - and the fax machine isn’t working.

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“I can’t receive any bookings online and I can’t go online to check.”

It is not just conventional businesses that have been hit with a rare record dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, also being badly affected.

“It’s had a massive impact as we’re in a fairly remote area, my husband runs a business from home and it’s all internet based,” she said.

The theft took place at around 11 o’clock on Tuesday, between Ashwell and Slip End, and BT has received around 50 reported faults related to the incident.

A spokesman said: “We have suffered theft of underground cabling which has been affecting services in the area.

“Engineers have been on site working around the clock and will be continuing over the weekend to restore services as quickly as possible by bringing in replacement cabling and then reconnecting those affected onto the new cable.

There was no problem or delays with bringing in new cabling and we are currently jointing the new cabling in.”

Hertfordshire Constabulory are investigating the incident and urge anyone with information to come forward.

A spokesman said:”