Pensioner cuts off Armenia's internet with spade

Armenia was cut off from the internet for five hours after an elderly woman in neighbouring Georgia accidentally sliced through an underground cable, it emerged yesterday.

The incident occurred on 28th March, when the 75-year-old damaged a fibre-optic cable while scavenging for copper to sell as scrap near the country's capital, Tbilisi.

Ninety per cent of Armenia's internet access is routed through Georgia, and web users in the country of 3.2 million people were left stranded for up to five hours by the outage. Parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan were also affected .

"It was a 75-year-old woman who was digging for copper in the ground so that she could sell it for scrap," a spokesman for Georgia's interior ministry confirmed yesterday.

The woman - nick-named the "the spade-hacker" by local media - is being investigated on suspicion of damaging property. An interior ministry spokesman said the woman had been released temporarily "on account of her old age", but could face more questioning.

If convicted, she faces up to three years in jail.