St Albans businesses cut off by cable theft threat

CABLE crime has come to St Albans and left businesses in parts of the city without telephone or internet access since Monday.

Both Herts Police and BT were tight-lipped about whether copper cabling had been stolen or cut in the Hatfield Road area on Monday evening but since then a number of businesses and local services have been left floundering.

They include St Paul’s Church in Blandford Road, which was told that due to a major cable theft there was no phone or broadband service and the service was not likely to be restored until Sunday.

Trestle Arts Base in Highfield Park was similarly affected and while it has managed to get its box office number switched to mobile phones, it is concerned about email bookings for forthcoming performances.

Trestle head of operations, Clare Winter, said they had been told that seven boxes had been vandalised and over 200-metres of copper wire had been taken.

Their provider, Southern Communications, had told Trestle that it was BT Openreach which had been affected which was why businesses were suffering.

Clare said it was hard to assess what the impact on Trestle bookings would be because they were not getting as many calls as they would have expected but they would not be able to tell for sure until the service was up and running again.

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She added: “We were able to minimise our loss and react quickly but it could be devastating for some businesses.”

A BT spokesman said they had suffered “malicious cuts” to underground cabling and engineers were working to bring in new cabling and begin repairs to restore services.

He added: “We are doing all we can to get this work completed as quickly as possible but it is too early to say for certain when all will be completed.”

And a spokesman for Herts Police said they understood some cables were cut in Hatfield Road between 5pm on Monday and 12.35am on Tuesday and it was being treated as attempted theft.