VULNERABLE residents in County Durham who still have no TV signal due to the Bilsdale mast outage are being offered extra support – and advice about how to avoid potential fraudsters.

Last week, a temporary mast was switched on by operator, Arqiva, restoring coverage to more than 95 per cent of the Northern households impacted by the initial outage following a fire at the transmitter, in North Yorkshire, on August 10.

But there remain some postcodes across the county which are without signal and Durham County Council is working with Arqiva to identify vulnerable residents in those areas.

Read more: Temporary Bilsdale mast switched on to restore TV signal

Staff from the council’s community hub are making contact with residents to provide details of how they will be able to access TV and radio by other means, with Arqiva now planning to issue a voucher scheme to all residents left without TV services.

The operator is writing to households this week to provide details of how to claim a £50 Currys voucher.

This can be spent either in store or online on a range of TV streaming devices.

Arqiva has also set up a helpline for those without signal, with priority being given to people over 65, the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers. People in these priority groups are encouraged to contact the helpline on 0800-1214828.

Residents in affected areas, or their carers, can also complete a helpline form online at to request assistance.

They will then be contacted by a member of Arqiva’s home support team.

Read more: Bilsdale transmitter: Watch the moment mast is demolished in explosion

The council is also making people aware that, other than to receive a letter explaining the voucher scheme, they will not be contacted directly by Arqiva. Support from the company is by appointment only.

Residents are being urged to be cautious of being approached by fraudsters claiming that a new aerial, or other equipment, will be needed to access TV reception.

They are also being reminded not to allow any unexpected callers into their home, or pay them any money.

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “We would urge all residents to remain vigilant if approached by anyone claiming to represent a business seeking to restore their TV signal.

“Arqiva will not cold call you and will only attend your home by appointment.

“Please do not let anyone into your home if they do not have an appointment.

“Staff from our community hub are on hand to offer support to those most in need and we are working to contact these residents as soon as we can.

“I would also ask that people are mindful of any vulnerable family members or neighbours and share this information with them to avoid anyone being exploited.”

The council’s community hub, County Durham Together, can be contacted on 03000-260260.

Any residents needing support with retuning their TV should visit,

There is also more information on how residents can join Friends Against Scams and be alert to preventing fraud at


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