Village areas cut off over weekend after attack on exchange

Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
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Residents in a rural area of Northumberland were left without landline telephones or broadband for more than 48 hours.

Following an attack on the Hartburn exchange, which involved two large underground cables, people in part of the village and Netherwitton, among other areas, were cut off from late Friday night or early Saturday morning until Monday lunchtime.

Among those affected was the MP for the Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who lives in Netherwitton.

She was informed that a group of residents had been to the Hartburn exchange buildings and surrounding roads on Saturday and Sunday, but they did not see a single BT Openreach vehicle or engineer.

However, the company says that engineers worked ‘flat out’ to restore the service.

Mrs Trevelyan said: “It was a weird situation because the whole village was cut off and the company should have a list of elderly people on their own and families with children under five to help as quickly as possible.”

A BT Openreach spokeswoman said: “Due to an attack on our network, telephone service in Netherwitton was lost over the weekend.

“We received the first fault report on Saturday morning and despatched engineers immediately. The team worked flat out to repair the two large underground cables, with service fully restored on Monday.

“Anybody with any information about the incident can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or through an anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org”