TECH

Vodafone Cannot Repair Southampton Mast Due To Nesting Peregrine Falcons

15/04/2013 15:15 BST | Updated 15/06/2013 10:12 BST

Vodafone has been forced to temporarily abandon a faulty mobile phone transmitter because a peregrine falcon has built its nest in the mast.

The mast in Southampton has resulted in poor reception for many customers in the area.

But upon investigating the fault on 9 April, the mobile company's engineers foudn a female falcon and a nest of unhatched chicks.

The company told the BBC it would have to wait until any chicks are hatched before it can repair the problem.

Peregrine falcons have been protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act since 1981, and the location of the nest must be kept a secret to avoid poachers targeting the nest or hurting the animals, of which there are only 1,400 nesting pairs in the UK according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

The penalty for disturbing a falcon's nest can include a prison sentence.

Vodafone said it was considering other ways to restore service. In a statement it said:

"We're already looking at alternative contingency plans and we'll inform our customers as soon as we can.

"While this is inconvenient for our customers, it is great news that the falcons are nesting in the city."

The company told the Verge that it may be able to use a replacement transmitter to rebuild the broken service link.