A CHESHIRE Constabulary policeman has warned vandals they could face life behind bars for slashing phone cables.
PC Robin Elliot, of the Western Area NPT, said that last week’s incident involving BT phone lines being cut in Kelsall put the lives of villages in danger.
Police and BT engineers rushed to Old Coach Road area last Tuesday after more than 100 homes lost their telephone connection.
It is the second incident involving the theft or damage of cables in Kelsall since January and police are sending a stark message to the alleged perpetrators.
PC Elliot said: “The recent theft of BT cable in the village raises a number of concerns for both local residents and the emergency services.
“Those responsible for the theft show a blatant disregard for the safety and well being of villagers by denying them access to the emergency services via the 999 system.
“BT have assured us that they will continue with their work to repair the damage as soon as possible and we are liaising with their investigations department.
“Those responsible for the theft when detected face not only prosecution for the theft of cable but also for criminal damage recklessly endangering life that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
“I would ask that any person witnessing unusual activity during the twilight hours such as a small group of persons that appear to be carrying out servicing work on footpaths to contact the police by other means if necessary and we shall endeavour to dispatch a patrol to the scene as soon as possible.”
BT spokeswoman Emma Tennant confirmed that engineers had worked “around the clock” to reconnect the homes affected.
She said that all phone lines had been repaired by Thursday.