Villagers were furious this morning after discovering their phones were cut off again – for the fifth time in four weeks – when thieves stole telephone cables.
But this afternoon it was confirmed police investigating the spate of thefts have arrested a suspect.
The man was detained within two hours of the alleged theft, after officers tracked the movements of a suspicious car. Police were initially called at 4.40am today to reports of a crime in progress.
It was alleged a quantity of heavy-duty wiring had been cut and stolen from an electrical unit in Horsmonden Road, between Brenchley and Horsmonden.
A vehicle suspected to be linked to the theft was tracked to the Canterbury area and stopped by patrols at around 6.15am.
A 25-year-old man from Margate was arrested on suspicion of theft and taken into custody.
Villagers still woke this morning to find themselves cut off again.
Kate Mills, who runs Heath Stores in the centre of Horsmonden, said: "This is not a victimless crime.
"It affects all residents and businesses too.
"The are a lot of elderly people in Horsmonden, many without a mobile phone, what if they need to make an emergency call?"
Her own business had been hit financially each time, unable to connect to lottery tickets sales, and unable to support the mobile post office that visits three times a week, but requires a phone line to operate it services.
Mrs Mills said: "The centre of the village has cable connections, but other parts have lost their broadband too."
She added: "We have now experienced the fifth theft of copper phone lines in Horsmonden in four weeks."
After the third of the thefts, which all occurred in the same area, BT Openreach installed CCTV and caught images of the thieves on their fourth visit.
But the van the criminals used to carry away their haul of wire had false number plates and no arrests followed.
Mrs Mills said: "Each time there have been a few days while BT has replaced the cables, and then a few more days, while they sort out the lines, during which we have tended to get calls for our neighbours.
"Then just when everything is back to normal, the thieves strikes again and steal the new wires!"
The rising price of copper, which recently reached £8,000 a tonne, is making cable thefts more attractive to criminals.
An Openreach spokesman said: "We are really disappointed that people in Horsmonden and other parts of Kent are repeatedly bearing the brunt of criminal behaviour.
"These attacks have caused significant damage to our network and unacceptable disruption to the lives of local people through the loss of phone and broadband services.
"Our engineers are working tirelessly to replace the cable, repair the damaged infrastructure and connect everyone back up again."