Phone farce as BT gets lines crossed

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IT was four days of phone farce for the village of Brettenham when BT got its lines crossed.

Residents used mobiles to dial their own home numbers to see who answered.

Martin Frey was first alerted by what he at first thought was a wrong number.

“I dialled my number on my mobile and got a number up the street,” he said. “Then I dialled my neighbour and got another house a mile away. When they dialled theirs they got another and so it went round.”

It was resident Alison Jolly who called the Bury Free Press about the fault, but when we rang her we got Ken Bound who said: “We’ve found we can accept calls by giving out the number of a neighbour who lives 100 yards up the road. We think there are at least 20 swapped.

“One local has been inundated with calls about Labrador puppies because he’s got the number of a breeder.”

When we reached Alison, on her mobile, she said: “We’re a close knit village but there certainly aren’t going to be any secrets after this.

“On Thursday night I needed to ring home and got Ken and Beverley and I thought it was me being stupid.”

Penny Redwood-Smith and her husband both need phone and broadband to work from home and were still off 24 hours after everyone else.

Penny said: “We were able to listen to someone else’s messages, which I find frightening. After my husband told BT that, we were cut off.”

They all had problems getting BT call centres abroad to understand it was one big fault and when they did, there was no system for reporting it. All are worried about getting bills for others’ calls.

Mr Frey said: “My suggestion is just not to pay for four days.”

BT said villagers needed to take that up with their phone company.

Its spokesman added: “Following works on an overhead cable, it appears there was a problem with jointing which caused a number of lines to be routed incorrectly.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience.”