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Fears for safety of 88-year-old Stowmarket woman after she is left with faulty phone line for seven months

PUBLISHED: 16:39 01 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:52 02 August 2017

Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Picture: ARCHANT

Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Picture: ARCHANT

More than seven months plagued by a faulty BT phoneline has left a daughter fearing for the safety of her 88-year-old mother from Stowmarket.

Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Christine shows where BT have marked her property. Picture: ARCHANT Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Christine shows where BT have marked her property. Picture: ARCHANT

Christine Field has been a BT customer for decades, but since January this year her phoneline has become barely usable.

After months of back and forth, with engineers coming out to find holes had not been dug and dozens of phone calls, her daughter Sue Sawyer has reached the end of her tether.

“I don’t know what else we can do,” she said. “We go round in circles with them. They send out an engineer, who finds out they cannot do the work because the hole has not been dug, then they end up logging the work as completed in the system.

“So the next time we ring it starts all over again. My mother is fit and healthy, but she has had a fall in the past and we are worried something will happen and she won’t be able to get help.”

Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Markings outside Christine's home. Picture: ARCHANT Cristine Field, 88, has been cut off by BT. Markings outside Christine's home. Picture: ARCHANT

She said that thankfully a kind neighbour has agreed to check up on Mrs Field on a regular basis to make sure she is safe, but said the situation should never have happened.

Mrs Sawyer said: “Eventually they came out and sprayed on with white paint where the hole needs to be dug, but they can’t seem to get anyone out to actually dig the hole. I feel sorry for the engineers, as there is nothing they can do.”

Mrs Field, who lives alone in her home on a housing estate near the town centre, does not have a mobile phone.

“When the phoneline breaks, it cuts her off and isolates her,” said Mrs Saywer. “BT have put us on to their ‘possibly at risk’ team due to her age, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.”

After this newspaper contacted BT for comment, the telecoms giant said they are set start the work on Wednesday, August 2.

A spokesman for BT said: “Underground engineering work is required to fix Mrs Fields telephone service. Engineers are scheduled to be on site tomorrow (August 2). The engineering work is complex and time-consuming, as underground duct work is involved.

“However, we are working as quickly as we can to restore service to Mrs Field, as soon as possible. BT’s customer services department is updating Mrs Field with progress on the work that is being carried out and we have apologised to her for the inconvenience and delay.”

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