Should I contact police about BT problem?

  WhiteTruckMan 00:38 09 Aug 2005

Hi all.
I’m not by nature a poster, preferring instead to read silently, but something has cropped up that I could use some advice on. Briefly, my partner owns a small shop, and on the 27th July the phone went dead. Fault was reported to BT who got an engineer round to fix on 28th. He made a comment that the wiring routing puzzled him a bit, but that our phone was now working, but that the wire had physically been cut. Following this, we disappeared the same day on a holiday to Wales, taking the keys to the shop with us. When we got back on Sunday (7th) we found a letter from BT saying that they had restricted access to premium numbers due to the large numbers being called. We called BT but on a Sunday evening we didn’t get much joy, except that a bill would probably arrive Monday. I went to the outside rear to try to inspect the wiring, but couldn’t see anything. On a hunch I dialled the number from my mobile, and could hear it ringing from an upstairs flat 3-4 doors down!

On Monday the bill arrived and we saw over 6 hours to premium numbers at a cost of @ £450 +vat. About 5 ½ hours to mobiles with most calls being less than 10 seconds, but to more different mobiles than I’ve ever seen. Plus sundry other local calls and other odd numbers. All made since the repair.

Lots of calls to BT and although they have said they will not be pursuing the bill until the matter has been investigated, I cannot as yet get them to send an engineer round to investigate the wiring, so although premium numbers are barred, others are not (mobiles, international calls etc) so our line can still be used for anything else. The very large number of different mobile numbers rung makes me wonder if something illegal, i.e. drugs, is being run through our number.

A message has been left with the flats landlord, who is also our landlord, and we are waiting for him to get back to us.

Now here (finally) is the question. Bearing in mind that BT fraud/security is supposed to be investigating this, should we also go to the police as well? Or is it likely that we will just end up with a crime number, and told to go back to BT?

Any sensible thoughts would be gratefully received.


  wiz-king 05:43 09 Aug 2005

If only to get it on record, I would also notify you insurance company as you may want to claim if BT put in a large bill and you have to pay it to keep a phone line. BT investigators move in mysterious ways, they are by nature creatures of the night and although you hear nothing they should be working out there somewhere. If they suspect a local engineer the they will get in someone from another area to do a wiring check.

You may well end up with a crime number from the police and be told if BT are investigating then that is all the police can do at this time, but at least you can prove to a third party ie your insurance company, VAT inspector and your accountant that something has happened.

  Forum Editor 07:53 09 Aug 2005

you have the first BT engineer's comments to back up the case - he obviously noticed that something was wrong, and yet he did nothing about it.

You'll not be able to make an insurance claim in the event that you have to pay the bill, but your phone line has been used illegally - BT should be reporting to the police, because they're the owners of the line that was cut. It was cut on your premises however, and therefore someone trespassed on your property to do it - I also advise that you contact Police.

Tell BT that unless they physically disconnect the line, and provide you with a new one you will not be liable for any charges. It's obvious to you that someone has run a line into another property, and it must be obvious to BT.

  HondaMan 09:20 09 Aug 2005

You need to ring the police asap and get them to come around so that you can demonstrate the ring to them BEFORE the physical evidence has been altered or removed. Once it has gone or been removed, you only have word of mouth that anything was wrong in the first place!

  spuds 10:01 09 Aug 2005

On a matter of this intensity BT may have already contacted the police [they work in conjunction with the police on many occasions ie nuisance telephone calls etc], but as a safeguard to yourself, I would report the 'incident' to your local police station. Do not give a full report to the enquiry desk officer, but request that you speak with a Duty Inspector or CID officer and lodge a formal complaint requiring investigation. Any action from then on should be relayed via a police intelligence report.This action should safeguard you from possible future actions from BT.
I would be a very worried that the engineer knew that there was a problem, yet didn't take necessary steps or inform you of impending action.Connecting you back into the system after observing faults seems to be incorrect, in respect that he should have contacted someone at a more senior level. Tampering with the telephone line is a criminal offense. I would also contact Ofcom click here and seek their advice, as they can be a great help in situations like this.

  Monument 10:09 09 Aug 2005

Can I suggest that you do not dictate to the police who should take your report.

If the procedure is that the front desk staff take the report which is then allocated either to the CID or another investigating department, then accept this as so.

What is important is that the repoprt is taken, not to whom it is reported.

  spuds 11:11 09 Aug 2005

Monument-- I agree with what you say,but by 'professional' experience I find that most constabulary's instruct their 'Front Desk' officers to take/make a minor inquiry report, and the 'customer' as the right to request a Duty Inspector.In most cases a CID officer from the appropriate section would be consulted [if available]. This is not dictating, it is a request.

Sometimes, but not alway, depending on the 'Front Desk' staff [civilian or serving police officer], things can get delayed, and it is best to walk away from a police station with the knowledge that the matter is being dealt with, and by whom. Perhaps they are conducting an investigation of this or similar nature within the area !.

  popali 16:11 09 Aug 2005

check some of the mobile numbers that have been rang if any are for a long period try ringing one and try and ween some info out of the person you are calling try and get thier address without causing to much suspicion. hand over info to police.

  alB 16:54 09 Aug 2005

Report it to the Police without fail, get a crime number and make sure the matter is pursued by both the Police and BT, who knows what other illegal activities are going on...alB

  Monument 17:07 09 Aug 2005

"and the 'customer' as the right to request a Duty Inspector"

Why do you think you have this right. In most cases there will be one Inspector for a very large area with more to worry about "in the great scheme of things" than taking a minor crime report. That is what Constables are for. Why antagnonise the police by making such unwarranted demands.

In most forces the crime report will be screened by a Crime Desk before being allocated for investigation.

Reality has to bite and these days you are very lucky to get a police officer to attend the scene of a burglary within 24 hours.

  €dstowe 17:14 09 Aug 2005

In these times of heightened security the police may have a bigger interest in this event than you think they might - especially if you live in a part of the country where the security breaches are of particular interest.

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