Metal thieves cut Surrey residents’ phones off for 3 days

Metal thieves cut Surrey residents’ phones off for 3 days

The depths to which metal thieves have sunk was illustrated by an attack on BT’s copper cables in a quiet neighbourhood in Horton, nr Epsom Surrey back in December [2011]. The attack occurred sometime between 11.45 pm on Saturday and 10.15 am on Sunday. The actual cables weren’t removed but damaged as thieves were disturbed resulting in around 350 homes left without telephones or internet connections.

Attacks on BT networks have risen by 12 per cent since 2010. Between May 2009 and May 2010, some 800 cables have been stolen in Surrey along and Surrey police are now patrolling likely target areas in a bid to catch the criminal gangs. The cost of copper wire thefts to the British economy is estimated to be something like £770 million per annum.

Luke Beeson, BT Security, general manager, told the Epsom Guardian “Stealing telecommunications cable requires some degree of organisation, planning, equipment and resources. Offenders cover the whole spectrum of criminality from opportunist thieves stealing small amounts through to organised criminal gangs with access to more resources and equipment causing major widespread disruption to our customers.”

It took time to reconnect the Horton residents since, as a BT Spokesman told the Epsom Guardian, “We needed to renew around 100m of cable in order to repair the damage. We have completed out works and we are just testing all lines, but believe everyone should be back in service.” Luckily most residents were back up and running with their internet and telephones by the Wednesday (three days later).

Epsom and Ewell neighbourhood police inspector Craig Knight, commented, “Although the cable was damaged in this incident and not taken, we believe it was the intention of the suspects to go back and collect the cable and try and sell it on.”

He added, “Regular patrols take place around areas where cable could potentially be targeted and we are also working closely with a number of companies who have cable in our area to see how we can reduce the risk of them being targeted in the future.”

Significantly, BT now operates a partnership with Crimestoppers to help prevent cable thefts and is offering £1,000 for anyone providing information leading to arrests and subsequent convictions.

Which in this instance could easily have been a Horton resident who was operating an IP-based surveillance systems like Jabbakam. His or her camera might have caught the registration number plate of the van or vans used in the attempted theft. If this had led to a conviction, then the reward could have been claimed. So participating in a community monitored TV scheme could pay dividends as well as help to protect your property.

Incidentally, the company which maintains BT’s telephone lines is now BT Open Reach. Residents looking for compensation have to go back to their telephony supplier which may or not be BT. Since most broadband connexions are classified as domestic not business, then compensation for loss of connectivity wouldn’t kick in for much longer than just three days.

The depths to which metal thieves have sunk was illustrated by an attack on BT’s copper cables in a quiet neighbourhood in Horton, nr Epsom Surrey back in December [2011]. The attack occurred sometime between 11.45 pm on Saturday and 10.15 am on Sunday. The actual cables weren’t removed but damaged as thieves were disturbed which resulted in around 350 homes left without telephones or internet connections.

Attacks on BT networks have risen by 12 per cent since 2010. Between May 2009 and May 2010, some 800 cables have been stolen in Surrey along and Surrey police are now patrolling likely target areas in a bid to catch the criminal gangs. The cost of copper wire thefts to the British economy is estimated to be something like £770 million per annum.

Luke Beeson, BT Security, general manager, told the Epsom Guardian “Stealing telecommunications cable requires some degree of organisation, planning, equipment and resources. Offenders cover the whole spectrum of criminality from opportunist thieves stealing small amounts through to organised criminal gangs with access to more resources and equipment causing major widespread disruption to our customers.”

It took time to reconnect the Horton residents since, as a BT Spokesman told the Epsom Guardian, “We needed to renew around 100m of cable in order to repair the damage. We have completed out works and we are just testing all lines, but believe everyone should be back in service.” Luckily most residents were back up and running with their internet and telephones by the Wednesday (three days later).

Epsom and Ewell neighbourhood police inspector Craig Knight, commented, “Although the cable was damaged in this incident and not taken, we believe it was the intention of the suspects to go back and collect the cable and try and sell it on.”

He added, “Regular patrols take place around areas where cable could potentially be targeted and we are also working closely with a number of companies who have cable in our area to see how we can reduce the risk of them being targeted in the future.”

Significantly, BT now operates a partnership with Crimestoppers to help prevent cable thefts and is offering £1,000 for anyone providing information leading to arrests and subsequent convictions.

Which in this instance could easily have been a Horton resident who was operating an IP-based surveillance systems like Jabbakam. His or her camera might have caught the registration number plate of the van or vans used in the attempted theft. If this had led to a conviction, then the reward could have been claimed. So participating in a community monitored TV scheme could pay dividends as well as help to protect your property.

Incidentally, the company which maintains BT’s telephone lines is now BT Open Reach. Residents looking for compensation have to go back to their telephony supplier which may or not be BT. Since most broadband connexions are classified as domestic not business, then compensation for loss of connectivity wouldn’t kick in for much longer than just three days.

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