Mobile phone mast is felled

Dec 16, 2005

An 80ft phone mast has been chopped down by "professional" saboteurs in the middle of the night, causing damage running into thousands.

Specialist cutting equipment was used to topple the mast - as high as three double-decker buses - which narrowly missed a road as it collapsed.

Phone giant Orange, which was planning to use the mast near Sedgley, said it was lucky no one was injured as the metal structure crashed down.

It was the second attack on the former NTL mast, now owned by Arqiva. An arson attack caused £150,000 damage in 2003.

Residents in Gospel End, on the Dudley-Staffordshire border, had battled to stop the mast going up in 2001 without success.

Orange had been planning to use it but as it had been out of action since the arson attack its demolition will not affect phone users.

Arqiva's Bruce Randle was in no doubt that the mast had been brought down deliberately. Mr Randle said it would not have taken people who knew what they were doing long to fell the mast.

He said:"It has been chopped down basically, someone has cut the four corners and felled it.

"I think it has been done very deliberately and very professionally by someone who knew what they were doing.

"They must have had the right tools and must have known where to cut - you cannot bring down one of these things with a hacksaw.

"Fortunately no-one was hurt and no services have been affected."

Orange spokeswoman Sue Hammett said the company had been aiming to get the network live before the latest incident.

She added:"We do understand that people may have concerns about mobile phone masts and the perception of risk to health.

"However we wish to reiterate that any concerns should be directed via the appropriate channels and not through direct action."

Ward councillor Michael Evans said feelings were still running high in the area after a proposal to extend the mast by 3ft was pushed through this year despite further objections from residents.

Police in South Staffordshire are investigating.

Anyone with any information is urged to call 08453 302010.



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Dezember 2005

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