A PENSIONER lost his phone service after a vandal switched his line.
Armitage Bridge man Derrick Stephenson was unable to receive calls from his sons after the Virgin Media box near his home was tampered with.
The 82-year-old said: "I'm cross that someone has done this to a pensioner like me."
Mr Stephenson, who lives on Meltham Road, first noticed the problem last week when he called a number and didn't hear a ring.
He said: "I didn't think much of it but three days later I called a friend in Leeds and couldn't get through. I knew then there was a problem because I was sure he would be in at the time."
Mr Stephenson called Virgin Media on his mobile right away to complain about the problem.
A company engineer came round and quickly discovered the problem was the nearby box opposite the Big Valley Garage.
Mr Stephenson said: "He told me someone had forced open the box and switched the wires."
The engineer fixed the problem in five minutes.
But Mr Stephenson has since discovered that the damage done to the box had caused him to miss calls from his sons David and Nigel.
He said: "Both of them had tried to phone me last week, but a strange voice answered at the other end and then hung up."
Mr Stephenson wrote to Virgin Media on Tuesday, explaining the problem and asking not to be charged for calls made by the other user. His next bill is due in mid-May.
Meanwhile, Fred Taylor, who lives on Meltham Road about 300 yards from Mr Stephenson, has also had problems with his phone.
The 79-year-old, who is also a Virgin Media customer, has been unable to make calls since Saturday.
He said: "I can only get in-coming calls. When I dial I get the engaged tone.
"It's worrying because I live alone and the phone is my lifeline. What could I do if something happens to me?"
Virgin Media have told Mr Taylor they will send an engineer today.
And he is convinced the phone box is to blame for his problem too.
Mr Taylor said: "Whoever tampered with the box is a stupid idiot."