HUNDREDS of residents were left without telephone connections after suspected metal thieves cut through cables.
British Telecom say two cables were cut in Hartlepool, knocking out 700 landlines.
Some residents could not ring out or receive calls for two weeks after going off in the early hours of Sunday, November 25.
Engineers were still working yesterday to reconnect a handful of remaining lines.
It is thought metal thieves tried to cut through the phone lines in the Sapper’s Corner area of town on the A689.
BT apologised for the inconvenience caused by the vandals and said the delay was due to the size of the repair task.
A BT spokesman said: “Two cables were cut, presumably as part of an aborted metal theft.
“One of the cables carried 400 lines, the other 300, so this was a massive repair task and the delay in repairing this line is simply due to the size of the task of repairing and reconnecting 700 telephone lines.
“The vast majority of the lines have been reconnected and an engineer has been appointed to clear this fault.
“We’d like to apologise for this break in service but obviously it was entirely out of our control.”
The remaining telephone lines were due to be reconnected yesterday.