A mysterious force is non-starter for drivers

Published: 17th February 2006

GIVE us a push... Hare and Hounds landlord Stephen Shepherd gives Alistair Fitton a helping hand from the pub car park.

IT’S a mystery that has got motorists in Wardle scratching their heads.

They are trying to find out what it is that is preventing them from starting their cars in the vicinity of the Hare and Hounds pub.

Vehicles have been affected in the pub’s car park on Ramsden Street and nearby in East Street.

Drivers switch on the ignition and the immobilisers immediately become jammed.

They claim this strange phenomena began 18 months ago, about the same time as a mobile phone mast was erected in the grounds of Birch Hill.

Frustrated Ramsden Street resident Alistair Fitton said: "One night mine, the landlady’s and another man’s car just wouldn’t start. The immobiliser on all three cars had mysteriously frozen.

"Ever since then pub regulars and six of my neighbours have been having the same problem."

They have now come up with a back-breaking solution – a free push into the corner of the car park, where a bottle bank just happens to be in line with the mast.

Mr Fitton is unable to park near his home and now leaves his car at the bottom of East Street.

He said "I was driving my father’s MG and I completely forgot about the problem.

"I then had to push the heavy car down the street to get it to start – I nearly put my back out. As I’ve been doing it for the last 18 months, I am getting used to it."

A spokesman for Orange said: "The Orange mobile phone network operates at a frequency of between 1800 and 2100 Mhz and no other technology is permitted to operate at that frequency.

"My advice to the drivers is for them to take the cars to the garage and get the immobiliser checked out.

"The answer to the mystery may lie elsewhere."

Technical whizz, Howard Stapleton, thinks the solution may lay with an amateur radio enthusiast or the new Tetra police communications system.

Telecommunications regulator Ofcom said that every so often this type of problem emerges with immobilisers and electronic key fobs.

Spokesman Simon Bates said: "The new mast may or may not be the cause, but it’s likely the immobilsers are of an inferior quality and can’t cope with the interference.

"We advise anyone affected to call Ofcom on 020 7981 3000 and we will be happy to investigate the matter.

"We may find that we can explain the problem and take action." Shaun Almond

First published by the Rochdale Observer

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