It's driving us crazy

Dec 14 2005

By Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo

RADIO waves from a Liverpool phone mast are causing posh cars to break down.

The 70ft pole in Childwall is pumping out waves with a similar frequency to those used in the alarm and immobiliser systems of some expensive vehicles.

A resident in nearby Walgrave Street had to sell his Mercedes because it broke down repeatedly, despite him paying for £1,000 of modifications.

Gareth and Lyn Davies were left stranded in the road after taking their new Lexus to visit a relative.

They had to barricade the vehicle inside a cordon of vans to block the waves before they could restart the engine.

The car breakdowns have heightened fears about safety among residents, despite assurances from mobile phone company Orange that the mast is safe.

Mrs Davis said: "Either way, the beams are too strong coming from the phone mast, or there's a serious fault with my car.

"Do we have to avoid driving down any roads with phone masts on to stop this from happening again?

"I'm worried that the engine could cut out when driving down the motorway, which would be a lot more dangerous."

A mechanic explained that cars with keyless entry and ignition worked on radio waves that sometimes suffered interference from phone masts.

They abandoned the car in Walgrave Street, as the automatic steering lock prevented it being moved, and needed two lorries to block out the beams. Neighbours spoke of their shock about the waves beaming from the mast by the Rocket pub on Queens Drive, at the end of the M62.

Madeline Gregory, 70, said: "Everybody is very worried about the masts in the area.

"Cars only seem to break down in our street and drivers don't have problems anywhere else.

"I try not to open my window if I can help it as I try to keep out the way of these rays."

A spokesman for Lexus said the incidents were rare and the problem would occur only when the vehicle was stationary.

He said: "It can happen if there are transmitters on masts similar to the radio waves that the car works on."

A spokesman for Orange said: "In our experience, it is not our masts causing problems but failings in the car electrics itself.

"Our technology works at a specific frequency band so no other piece of electrical equipment should cross over into our frequency band, and vice versa.

"Our emission levels are hundreds of times within the strict international health and safety guidelines."

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