�80,000 copper cable stolen in Essex village

WIMBISH residents were left without phone service last week following the theft of a huge amount of copper cable.

Thieves ripped up Telecom covers and 1,000 metres of cable belonging to BT - reportedly valued at �80,000. The incident happened in Thaxted Road overnight on September 26-27.

BT could not confirm the cost of the theft but a spokesman said: “We suffered cuts to and theft of underground cabling which we had 15 reported faults associated with loss of services.

“Engineers were quickly onsite and working to install and then connect replacement cabling, and all works were completed to fully restore service on September 28.”

The spokesman added that network security is of “paramount importance” to BT and that the firm is reviewing its processes to “make sure our infrastructure protection is robust”.

“To combat cable theft, BT’s security unit has established a nationwide intelligence-led taskforce whose strategy includes attending crime scenes, liaising closely with police and visiting scrap metal dealers. More than 400 people have been arrested across the UK for stealing from our network in the past year,” he added.

“We are also deploying ‘SmartWater’, a forensically coded invisible paint that ‘tags’ metal thieves and protects the telecoms network on to our plant in the region and across the UK.‪”

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BT is appealing for local residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour in or around street cabinets or manhole covers immediately.

It has joined forces with Crimestoppers and is offering up to �1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. Residents concerned about suspicious behaviour can report it either directly to the police on 101 or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.