VODAFONE users have been left unable to use their mobile phones thanks to poor reception.

This is the second time in less than four months that customers in Romsey have been unable to make calls or send texts - the previous time their service was down for a month.

The company said it was caused by a hardware fault on a mast affecting a mile to a mile and a half radius.

The Echo was contacted by several people affected by the problem, which started on Thursday November 1 and had been fixed according to the company on Monday.

One customer was 66-year-old widower Malcolm McKay, who is registered blind and relies on his mobile phone to get help in case of emergency.

The retired systems manager, of The Horsefair, Romsey, said he had spoken to a further six people all affected.

“It's frustrating because it was three weeks or so last time and now it's happened again,” he said.

“I'm unavailable - when I'm out if anything should happen to me I can't call for help. Sometimes the dog can go wrong and we can get lost.

“As with anything else when it doesn't work you might as well throw the thing out of the window.”

Carphone Warehouse, in Romsey, reported an influx of around 200 people in the first few days after the reception went down and had even put a note about it for customers on its door.

A shop employee said some customers had been told by the Vodafone helpline that there was no reception problem and that they needed a new sim card.

Lisa Moore, landlady of the Tudor Rose pub, confirmed that once again she and her customers had been hit by the same problem.

The problem in July and August affected a half-mile radius in the town and was caused by a problem with a site in Romsey which was then upgraded to fix it.

A spokeswoman for Vodafone said the company had had intermittent problems locally since Thursday which had been resolved and it was monitoring the site at present.

Users reported reception had been restored.