Neighbours criticise police after South Coast Derby power cut

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RESIDENTS have criticised police for stopping workers from fixing a power cut in their street during Sunday’s football derby.

Six homes were left without electricity in Frogmore Road, Fratton, near Fratton Park, from about 2.45am on Sunday due to a fault on the underground network.

Hampshire Constabulary – who launched a mammoth policing operation for Pompey’s clash against arch rivals Saints – asked Southern Electric to delay works until about 5pm when the stadium was cleared as Frogmore Road is a main emergency access route to the ground.

Southern Electric then installed a mobile generator in Frogmore Road, but power was not restored at the affected properties until about 7.15pm on Monday.

Dad-of-two Sam Sykes, 50, of Frogmore Road, said: ‘Everyone was concerned about the football but no-one was concerned that there was no power in Frogmore Road.

‘The electricity board knew what it was and they needed to dig the road up. There are young babies, there are elderly people there and there were fridge freezers full of food for Christmas that’s ruined. Some people had to move out – they had no heat and couldn’t even boil a kettle. We had to go and stay with family. It would have been sorted so much sooner it the police had let the electricity company into the road earlier.’

Superintendent Rick Burrows, who led the policing operation for Sunday’s derby, said: ‘Frogmore Road is one of the key safety routes into the ground. If anything had happened they would need to get key vehicles in there like fire engines. We couldn’t compromise on safety.

‘We spoke to the electricity company. They wanted to dig the road up and have vans surrounding it – we just couldn’t; have that in a key access route. The decision was taken on safety grounds to ask the electricity company to delay going in.

‘The minute it was safe to do so we rang the electricity company back and said they could go in.’

A spokeswoman for Southern Electric Power Distribution said: ‘We would like to apologise to the residents of Frogmore Road for the recent interruptions to the supply. This was due to a fault on the underground network.

‘Our engineers have now carried out the full repairs.’