BT has apologised for the state of broken and vandalised telephone kiosks in Eastbourne town centre – but stopped short of offering to remove them.
Eastbourne council and traders have called for the telecommunications giant to take down what they call unsightly stands which have a call box on one side and advertising on the other.
The organisations say the kiosks are being used for anti-social behaviour including drug dealing and as toilets and the stands either have broken handsets or are covered in graffiti and bird droppings.
Council leader David Tutt and Chamber of Commerce boss Christina Ewbank launched a campaign asking BT to remove the units and stop placing them in the town centre. Under planning laws, telecommunications companies do not need permission to install the units and do so under permitted development rights.
Mr Tutt wants a change in the law so those rights are taken away and has also been in touch with Ofcom.
BT apologised this week.
A spokesperson said, “We have been made aware of the condition of the boxes in the area and apologise for this. We are arranging for all the boxes to be cleaned as soon as possible and have repaired the damaged payphone which is now fully working again. One payphone is not operational due to problems with underground cabling to the unit, but hope to have this resolved soon.
“With regards to criminal activity, this is a matter for the police and we will work closely with local authorities and law enforcement agencies to support requests we receive. We also encourage anyone who spots any illegal activities to report this to the police.
“Anyone can report faults with payphones by calling our team on 0800661610 or emailing email@example.com”