Man calls in police over Norfolk broadband cabinet dispute
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 April 2016 | UPDATED: 13:28 27 April 2016
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2016
An Englishman’s home is his castle and, for Raymond Moreten, it must be defended as such.
Hopes of a settlement
A spokesman for BT Openreach claimed there were no plans to install a broadband cabinet at the location, and that one had now been built nearby.
“The original structure has been in place since 1972, and engineers need to access this when workloads require it,” the spokesman added. “We understand that there is ongoing consultation between Mr Moreten and Norfolk Highways, and we will assess the situation once the public boundary has been clearly defined.”
A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “Our discussions [with Mr Moreten’s surveyor] have been positive and constructive and we’re confident that the issue can be settled soon, with an agreed boundary line estab-lished which will assist Mr Moreten in identifying if any existing apparatus is on his land or not.”
The 86-year-old is locked in an unusual border dispute with BT Openreach over maintenance and proposed replacement of a broadband cabinet which he insists is on his private property.
The row has seen repeated clashes, when workmen turn up to work on the unit, with Mr Moreten standing in their way to block their efforts.
The feud has also seen Norfolk County Council embroiled, as it also involves a public highway, and even the police, who have been called out to deal with the dispute.
At the centre of the controversy is the precise border of Mr Moreten’s bungalow, on Framingham Earl Road, Yelverton, which fronts onto a road.
BT Openreach is responsible for the broadband cabinet on the fringe of the lawn, which they say is on public land. Mr Moreton is adamant it is in his garden.
Retired shopfitter Mr Moreten said that a telephone cabinet was in his garden when he bought the house in 1998 and he had no problem with this.
But he said he objected when workers allegedly upgraded the existing cabinet with broadband technology and tried to build a second cabinet nearby, which he claimed could harm the value of his home and create traffic problems due to maintenance vans.
“I go and stand in front of them and won’t let them work on it,” he said. “They were trying to convince me my Land Registry documents were a load of rubbish. “They’re not. They’ve been proved to be right to the inch.”
He claims he was offered £750 to agree to the new box, which he declined, but that the visits continued.
“After I stood there long enough to beat them they said they would be back in a few hours with more bodies,” said Mr Moreten. “They tried to push through me but I stood there in the pouring rain and eventually I beat them.”
A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed that officers were called in over the dispute, but were not currently taking further action.
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