Sidcup metal thieves 'should have hands cut off' after phone lines cut

News Shopper: From left to right BT Openreach technicians Kevin Cammell, Kevin West and Colin Dalton at the scene of the damage in Hatherley Road. From left to right BT Openreach technicians Kevin Cammell, Kevin West and Colin Dalton at the scene of the damage in Hatherley Road.

MINDLESS metal thieves "should have their hands cut off" after leaving nearly 5,000 Sidcup residents without phone lines for a week.

The criminals carved up a bundle of cables below Hatherley Road at around 12.30pm on November 12, but tripped an alarm meaning they walked away empty handed.

The attempted theft left thousands of shops, businesses and residents without phone lines or internet connections as technicians worked day and night to fix the damage.

Some customers were still having issues yesterday (Tuesday, November 20) while engineers tested 160m of freshly installed cables worth £29 a metre.

Basil Hodges, 76, proposed some corporal punishment for metal thieves after he was still without a phone line on Friday (November 16).

The Frinton Road resident said: "They should have their hands cut off, especially when they steal church memorials.

"If you haven’t got a mobile phone you have had it."

The retired builder had to get his wife to borrow a neighbour’s mobile after he was sent a letter telling him he had been prescribed the wrong pills.

The grandfather-of-three added: "I tried to get in touch with my doctor but couldn’t.

"There are a lot of other elderly people around and if they want an ambulance they don’t have mobile phones."

Shop assistant Linda Browning had to put a "cash only" sign on the counter of the Osbon pharmacy in Steynton Avenue after the dead line took out the business’ card machine.

The chemist receives emergency prescriptions by fax and had to use an upstairs device not connected to BT.

Ms Browning said: "We have definitely lost business.

"People have been coming in unable to pay because they don’t have cash.

"These days everybody uses card."

On Friday (November 16) News Shopper spoke to six Openreach technicians working to restore connections at the scene of the crime in Hatherley Road.

Technician and copper joiner Colin Dalton, 44, said: "A lot of people we speak to are elderly and the telephone is a lifeline for some of them.

"The people round here seem to be ok; they’re understanding but in some areas they’re arsey."

To protect the £4,640 of copper - the thickest line BT uses - new security measures are likely to be installed including a dye pack: a booby trap rigged to explode in the face of potential thieves, marking them with strong ink for months.

A BT spokeswoman claimed engineers had completed all cabling by Monday (November 19) but some customers were still having problems with their lines.

She added: "We have hundreds of customers impacted by this mindless criminal act."

Hundreds of phone lines in Sidcup were cut off in February after an attempted cable theft, again in Hatherley Road.

Anyone with any information on the recent attempted theft should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org

Comments (8)

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10:52am Wed 21 Nov 12

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott says...

I wouldn't stop at cutting their hands off. I wonder how many people died dial 999 because of the actions of these selfish pigs.

Any 'traveller' sites nearby, I wonder. You know, the ones who never travel but like to collect metal instead.
I wouldn't stop at cutting their hands off. I wonder how many people died dial 999 because of the actions of these selfish pigs. Any 'traveller' sites nearby, I wonder. You know, the ones who never travel but like to collect metal instead. Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott

11:18am Wed 21 Nov 12

Gypo.Joe says...

Steady on there Theo, 'who loves ya baby'. ;)


Phone line is sh1t, more agg than its worth.
Steady on there Theo, 'who loves ya baby'. ;) Phone line is sh1t, more agg than its worth. Gypo.Joe

11:27am Wed 21 Nov 12

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott says...

I apologise, Gypo. I of course meant to key 'dialling'.

What have you been doing with yourself lately ... melting down bronze war plaques?
I apologise, Gypo. I of course meant to key 'dialling'. What have you been doing with yourself lately ... melting down bronze war plaques? Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott

11:39am Wed 21 Nov 12

Gypo.Joe says...

Nah been into the ally beer and fizzy drink cans boi. Got a side line going on E Bay, ladies bicycle saddles, selling as flavour savers. Good money in it cocker.
Nah been into the ally beer and fizzy drink cans boi. Got a side line going on E Bay, ladies bicycle saddles, selling as flavour savers. Good money in it cocker. Gypo.Joe

3:33pm Wed 21 Nov 12

mouthalmighty says...

Disgusting gypo.Joe
Disgusting gypo.Joe mouthalmighty

10:05am Fri 23 Nov 12

mumcabs says...

They shouldn't just put a powerful dye in a booby trap. They should also incorporate a huge load of the smelly stuff that's skunks spray out, so that the slimy gits who attempt to thieve the copper cables will stink as much as their disgusting mentality and moral standards !!!!!!
They shouldn't just put a powerful dye in a booby trap. They should also incorporate a huge load of the smelly stuff that's skunks spray out, so that the slimy gits who attempt to thieve the copper cables will stink as much as their disgusting mentality and moral standards !!!!!! mumcabs

11:21am Fri 23 Nov 12

Gypo.Joe says...

mumcabs wrote:
They shouldn't just put a powerful dye in a booby trap. They should also incorporate a huge load of the smelly stuff that's skunks spray out, so that the slimy gits who attempt to thieve the copper cables will stink as much as their disgusting mentality and moral standards !!!!!!
Do you ride a biycle by chance ?
[quote][p][bold]mumcabs[/bold] wrote: They shouldn't just put a powerful dye in a booby trap. They should also incorporate a huge load of the smelly stuff that's skunks spray out, so that the slimy gits who attempt to thieve the copper cables will stink as much as their disgusting mentality and moral standards !!!!!![/p][/quote]Do you ride a biycle by chance ? Gypo.Joe

6:42pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott says...

Now. What man can honestly say that he hasn't done the scratch 'n' sniff test before deciding whether or not to venture south?
Now. What man can honestly say that he hasn't done the scratch 'n' sniff test before deciding whether or not to venture south? Lord Erastus Theobald Piggott

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