AN INDEPENDENT business owner has spoken of his frustration at being left without phone and internet power for week and a half.

Steve and Diane Russell, run their own business S Russell & Sons Wholesale Green Grocery from their home in Bowers Gifford.

Hundreds of people have been left without phones and internet for 10 days after yobs tried to steal 800 yards of underground copper wire in Bowers Gifford on Sunday last week.

BT contractors have been working to try to get the problems sorted out in Pound Lane, after the wire was cut in four places.

The greengrocers business was opened in 1988 and the couple say they have lost hundreds of pounds because people haven’t been able to call up or fax any orders through.

Mr Russell of Old Church Road said: “We usually get a lot of our business through schools and because the phone lines were down in half term we have been left out of pocket massively.

“The schools normally fax through their orders and we haven’t received any, it has been so annoying for us because we don’t know when the phone lines will be up again and its really impacting our business.

“We have seen the workmen out on the road trying to sort it out but surely after a week and a half it should have been sorted out.”

Resident Andrew Burns, 42, Pound Lane, Bowers Gifford, who works as an accountant said due to the internet not working he had to drive his daughter to his mum’s house in Benfleet just so she could print out her coursework on Monday night.

He said: “It has been so frustrating for the residents in the village because we just don’t know how long the phone lines are going to be down.

“There is lots of elderly people who just don’t have any other kind of phone and they don’t know what is going on. It’s ridiculous that it has taken BT that long to sort out the phone lines.

“I have been on at BT all week to try and get some updates but they have not been very forthcoming in telling the residents what is actually going on.

“Its ridiculous and all the businesses in the area have been badly impacted as well because you cannot use card machines or the ATM machine in the local newsagent. BT didn’t even turn up till four days after the lines were cut.”

A spokesman for BT added: “This work has taken longer than we would have hoped, due to the conditions in the area. We have encountered a number of blockages which have had to be cleared before we could get replacement cabling in.

“This is extremely time-consuming work. We have around 230 reported faults outstanding and we hope that later today that this number will start to fall as connections are made. We are hoping to have all works completed during Thursday.”