Gloucestershire

Villagers left with neighbours' phone numbers

Cliffords Mesne Image copyright Google
Image caption BT Openreach has asked affected residents to contact their service provider

Villagers were left with their neighbours' phone numbers by bungling telephone engineers.

The mix-up happened after repair work was carried out in Cliffords Mesne, Gloucestershire, leaving dozens of residents without a connection and others with different numbers.

BT Openreach has apologised and says it is working to put things right.

Resident Rob Wadley, 73, said: "There was a lot of hilarity about it but also a serious side to it."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption BT Openreach said the issue arose while carrying out essential maintenance to an overhead cable

He said the problem - caused by a damaged cable running through "some quite dense trees" - affected the entire village of 100 houses.

'Very cross'

"They completed [the repair] in two days and when they reconnected all the homes, everyone had someone else's number," he added.

"Some had no phones and some had someone else's number. We got a telephone call for the local town councillor. We soon found out."

Another resident, John Franklin, 65, said: "If you take our next-door neighbour, she is an elderly lady and has one of these emergency buttons. Her family use it to get in touch so it was quite serious as far as she was concerned.

"There are some people who work from the village and they were very cross. One fellow said he was losing £1,000 a day."

A spokeswoman for BT Openreach said: "We're sorry for the problems experienced by a handful of customers in Cliffords Mesne this week.

"The issue arose whilst we were carrying out essential maintenance to one of our overhead cables, and we're working hard to put things right as soon as possible.

"We would encourage anyone affected to contact their service provider as we are updating them regularly."

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