VILLAGERS were left without broadband and their landlines after a crucial cable was cut during roadworks.

Essex Highways began four months of roadworks to replace Marks Tey Bridge which carries North Lane over Roman Rover towards Aldham in November.

Work restarted following a Christmas break last week, but on Thursday, residents in Aldham noticed their broadband and phone lines had completely cut out.

It is believed engineers working on the project cut a cable they thought was disused which has caused the blackout.

Radivoje Matic lives in Aldham and volunteers at The Bannatyne and Hines Almhouses charity which provides accommodation to older people in the village.

He said the situation had a big impact on elderly people who often rely on their landlines.

"All the broadband and the phones in the village were cut off," he said.

"We have a number of elderly people in the village who rely on their home phone to call their family members everyday so it is causing quite a problem.

"We are especially concerned for people who use the helpline pendants which they can use to call people if they have a problem.

"They keep getting messages saying they are not connected so neighbours are volunteering to come round and check on them to make sure they are ok.

"I went down to the site of the roadworks and the supervisor did say they dug out cables but they thought they were dead.

"But nobody had any information - Essex County Highways had no idea what was happening but one of the cables must have been BT."

An Essex Highways spokesman said they had hoped to reconnect the cables late on Friday.

He said: "We understand the problem is the result of cable diversions carried out by the telecoms contractor crew just before Christmas being left incomplete, despite assurances.

"This left the live cable in place where our site team cut.

"We would like to apologise to anyone affected by the problem.”