ANGRY residents have slated work to lay fibre optic cables in a village near York after garden hedges were burnt.


Villagers in Copmanthorpe have also criticised the blocking and reinstatement of pavements by Virgin Media.


Resident Graham Gatman said his garden hedge in Ropery Court had been scorched by exhaust emitted from machinery used in the project.


He said a stretch of about 30 feet of beech hedge bordering the pavement had been burnt, and other residents’ hedges had been affected in the same way.


“If they had used their intelligence they would have used the equipment so the exhaust pointed the other way into the road,” said Mr Gatman, a former councillor, Mayor of Selby and chairman of North Yorkshire Fire Authority.


“It’s not good enough. If anybody else had done this it would have been criminal damage.”


He also complained about the blocking of pavements and the quality of reinstatement work afterwards, and claimed barriers had been left on lawns.


Another villager, Martin Tomlinson, said: “We are very concerned and very upset by the way the work is being carried out by the representatives of Virgin, whose cables are being laid.


“The way the work is being organised and carried out is quite alarming, to say the least.”


A Virgin Media spokeswoman said that as it continued to expand its fibre network to bring faster broadband and better entertainment to the area, it endeavoured to minimise disruption for the local community.


“We apologise to the residents of Copmanthorpe for any inconvenience we may have caused,” she said.


“We are aware of some concerns raised by residents and are working hard to resolve these as soon as possible.”


The villagers’ criticisms of Virgin echo those of residents elsewhere in York.


In South Bank, the internet giant was accused of taking no care with its work and leaving behind uneven and messy pavements, with 50 broken paving slabs counted in one street, and Osbaldwick councillor Mark Warters claimed pavements had been reinstated in a ‘shoddy’ way in other parts of York.