A CHURCHWARDEN has been cut off from the congregation after BT failed to repair a fault on his telephone line.

Brian and Anne Johnson, from Hurworth, near Darlington, complained to BT on Wednesday when they discovered they could not use their telephone.

Despite an engineer trying to discover the fault, the Johnsons are still without a telephone link, which is hampering Mr Johnson's church duties.

Mrs Johnson said: "If anyone wants to arrange a wedding, funeral or christening, they need to speak to my husband so he can talk to the archdeacon and arrange a vicar for the service. People have been ringing our private mobile and leaving messages, which means we have to call them back at our own cost. We don't know if anyone has failed to get through or has not been able to reach us.

"BT have been really unhelpful. It is taking them ages to sort out the problem."

A spokesman for BT said yesterday that the problem had been caused by a faulty cable and 60m of cable and duct had been replaced since the fault had been reported.

He apologise for the inconvenience caused to the Johnsons and said the line should be reconnected in the next few days.