POCKETS of residents in Bowers Gifford are still without phones and internet three weeks on after thieves tried to steal 800m of copper piping.

Elderly residents who depend on their landlines everyday have been especially hit hard as they struggle to get by with the help of neighbours and family visiting their homes.

Some residents in Highland Road and Clarence Road have been without their phones since Sunday, October 27 and they say the situation is “intolerable”.

Hundreds of people in the village were left without power for their landlines for two weeks as BT engineers worked to get the problems sorted out. Joyce Holmes, 84, of Highland Road, depends on her landline as she doesn’t have access to a mobile phone and she has been left isolated since the phones went down.

She said: “I cannot believe this has been going on for as long as it has, for three weeks I have had no power for my landline and I feel so isolated.

“I have not been able to have any contact with my family which has been terrible and I have no access to a mobile phone. My phone is a real lifeline and I have no idea when it will be up and running again.”

Mrs Holmes’ neighbour Michael Sullivan, 58, said some residents in the surrounding roads had their phones up and running again.

He added: “It is really hit and miss who has their phones back up and running and for the elderly people especially in the village the situation has been intolerable.

“I have been going to check on Joyce to make sure she is ok, without a phone she is totally isolated and its extremely unfair on the elderly people in the village.

“I have spent days trying to find a BT engineer to ask what is going on and they are none the wiser and when you call up the complaints line you are put through to a call centre in another country and they have no idea what we are talking about.

"We are just not getting any sense and we are just at the end of out tether.”

Paul Hayward, a spokesman for BT said: “This is part of the same problem following the attack on Sunday, October 27. This has proved to be an extremely difficult and time-consuming job to repair all the damage caused in this attack.

“Whilst finishing repairs it became apparent there was further undetected damage in another part of the cabling. This meant that water was getting into the cable causing some faults to remain.

“We arranged for traffic management and now have replaced a further 250 metres of underground cabling. “Engineers are now connecting the final 50 faults still outstanding.

“We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused, we are doing all we can to get this all cleared as quickly as possible.”