Cable theft leaves pensioners unpaid

PENSIONERS were unable to collect their benefits and businesses were left crippled on the run up to the Easter holiday after thieves attempted to steal telephone wire from Elmswell.

Woolpit Post office was unable to trade on Thursday as a result and had to turn away people looking to collect their pensions.

The Bull Inn also lost valuable bookings on one of the biggest weekends of the year.

Thieves attempted to steal the underground telephone cable in the early hours of April 19 in Elmswell where a 180 metre section of copper cable was cut from a manhole.

The incident comes just as Suffolk police begin a campaign to target cable theft in the area.

Over the last 18 months more than £500,000 worth of cable (in cost and replacement) has been stolen, often by thieves dressed in fluorescent jackets to look like genuine workmen.

BT Openreach confirmed 38 customers in the area were without a phone as a result of the incident.

Sub postmaster at Woolpit Post Office Jim Peek said: “I was unable to trade on Thursday, we opened but could only sell a few stamps.

“The phones went off in the early hours of Tuesday and didn’t come back until late on Thursday. “The pensions came in early this week due to the bank holiday so were supposed to be collected on Thursday. As the phones and internet were out nobody could collect their pensions.”

Kelly Jones, from the Woolpit Bull Inn, said: “From a business point of view it was terrible, we must have lost lots Easter holiday bookings.”

Suffolk Police and BT Openreach are working together to tackle the large number of cable thefts in the area and ask the public to keep their eyes open for anything suspicious.

Anyone with information on cable theft should call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500, or 999 if a crime is in progress.