PHONE lines have been restored to up to 1,200 homes and businesses which were cut off after thieves severed underground cables.
Police discovered on Wednesday morning that underground copper cabling in Ketton Road, North Luffenham, had been cut through during the night.
It is believed the crooks had intended to steal the cabling. They had cut the cable in two places, 100m apart and are thought to have been planning to return to pick it up.
The cable provided phone lines to up to 1,200 homes and businesses in North Luffenham, Edith Weston and surrounding villages, although a spokesman for BT said there had only been 240 faults reported.
It was back on by late Thursday night.
Among those affected was the Fox and Hounds pub in Pinfold Lane, North Luffenham.
Landlord Martin Ashton estimated he had lost £200 in takings on Wednesday because the bank card machine wasn’t working. He also thought he had lost bookings for Sunday lunchtime, which is regularly fully booked.
He said after the phone lines were restored: “I am very pleased they managed to sort it out quickly, I could have lost a lot more over the weekend.”
St Mary and St John Primary School in North Luffenham and Edith Weston Primary School were both using emergency mobile phones so parents could get in touch with the school.
Secretary at Edith Weston Primary School Kate Young described the phone lines being down as “inconvenient” because of the poor mobile phone signal in the village.
Other people affected included Jo Spiegl, of Chapel Lane, North Luffenham, who advertises her catering business using her home telephone number, and Alex Naylor, of Geoff Sewell Close, North Luffenham, who returned from holiday on Wednesday to find his internet connection was not working.
A spokesman for BT said it was constantly reviewing its security because of a spate of cable thefts.
Police are appealing for information.
Sgt Chris Dixon, who is based at Oakham police station, said: “There have been a lot of cable thefts over the past few months and we are appealing for anyone who sees any suspicious vehicles near manhole covers to contact us as soon as possible.”
Anyone who saw anything suspicious on Tuesday night can call police on 0116 222 2222.