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UK Police Jail Two People for Stealing BT Copper Broadband Cable

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 (12:54 pm) - Score 2,218

The Metropolitan Police have jailed two adult men for stealing a “large quantity” of BT’s copper telephone cable while they posed as local workmen, which resulted in a total loss of fixed line broadband ISP and phone services to hundreds of premises in Teddington and Sussex (England) during May 2012.

The men, Gavin Marriott (aged 28) and Daryl Carslake (aged 30) from Epsom in Surrey, were convicted at Southwark Crown Court last Friday after pleading guilty to two counts of cable theft. The court initially sentenced both to two years in jail for each count of theft but reduced this to 16 months after they pleaded guilty.

MET Police Statement

On each occasion, the pair, posing as workmen, travelled in a van – towing a large winch to extract cable via manholes.

On 9 May, the men targeted a manhole in Langham Road, Teddington, extracting 425 metres of cable. The pair made off swiftly with their haul after they were challenged by a passing council permit officer. The permit officer was able to take photographs of Carslake and Marriott, and noted the registration number of their van – which would later be used to link the pair to a cable theft in Sussex committed later that month.

On that occasion [29 May], Carslake and Marriott visited a site in Fernheath, Sussex, cutting a large quantity of cable which served up to 600 local residents and businesses, returning the following day to remove the cable. BT engineers called to the location to reports of service problems, witnessed the men arrive in their van and called police. The pair were subsequently stopped and arrested by neighbouring Surrey Police and the cable was recovered.

Last month BT informed ISPreview.co.uk that Openreach had experienced a 50% fall in incidents and a 24% reduction in faults pertaining to malicious damage of their UK phone and broadband ISP network during 2012 (here), though the bad weather may have also played a part.

Simon Davies, BTs General Manager for Cable Theft, said:

This case highlights the often highly organised nature of metal theft by persons who are only concerned with maximising their proceeds from this crime and care nothing for the disruption they cause for communities.

BT’s metal theft task force helped the Met and Surrey police forces to connect the incidents together, which led to the criminal activities of these individuals being brought to an end. The conviction and subsequent sentences are therefore very fitting.”

It’s not often that we get news of actual convictions, which is surprising given that metal theft can account for almost £1bn each year, but today’s news gives us some encouragement for the future.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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