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BT Copper Cable Theft Causes Internet Outages in Croydon and Sutton

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 (9:27 am) - Score 1,520
cable theft and damage uk police

Thousands of homes and businesses in the London boroughs of Croydon and Sutton have had their broadband and phone services disrupted after criminals pulled 140 metres worth of BT’s valuable copper telecoms cable out of the ground last week.

The “malicious damage” occurred at 5.20pm last Wednesday and involved four large underground cables on Church Road, which were cut and then removed. Unfortunately the damage was so serious that, after almost a week of waiting, many locals are still being impacted by the lack of service (Croydon Advertiser).

Bernie Auguste, Head of Security at BTOpenreach, said:

This malicious damage to our network has resulted in communities and businesses in the surrounding area to be without telephone and broadband services, causing disruption to thousands of people. This incident occurred at a busy time of day and we are calling on anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in and around the Church Road area to contact Crimestoppers.”

Openreach’s engineers are said to be “working around the clock” in order to fix the problem and as usual Crimestoppers (you can call the charity anonymously on 0800 555 111) are offering a reward of up to £1,000 for any information which leads to arrests and subsequent successful convictions.

BT employs a number of measures to track copper thieves, such as tagging related cable with SmartWater. Last year also saw the introduction of a new Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which has introduced new rules to tackle rogue scrap metal traders that have been helping to fuel a rise in the theft of copper broadband and phone cables (plus other metals from different industries).

Sadly the criminals have continued to ignore such measures, although life is now getting harder for them.

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Mark Jackson
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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24 Responses
  1. Avatar david

    be alright its only copper and BT Can afford to pay for it as they will bodge it up like the usual stuff and get the rubbish service running again 🙂

    • Avatar X66yh

      Well actually when it happened to me BT spent a great deal of time working dawn to dusk repairing the damage to the joint boxes and then put in brand new top quality copper cable and then joining up all the subscribers.
      They only got a few wrong/swapped round where the network records did not match what was on the ground.

      The end result of the new cable section was everybody’s broadband improved significantly: so in a strange way everyone was happy.

    • Avatar No Clue

      “… and then put in brand new top quality copper cable”

      No doubt one of your aliases inspected the copper purity with your co-pa-o-meter to confirm that rubbish claim first.

    • Avatar X66yh

      Sigh
      Why do I bother with this ‘forum’

      OK, I have no idea what was the ‘quality’ of the cable.
      However
      Whatever they put in to replace the old cable section significantly improved the internet for most of the affected subscribers.
      I looked at my router’s stats to compare, and while the Hlog curve was if anything slightly higher (ie more attenuation) the QLN data was very much quieter on the new cable than on the old….hence the improvements seen.

      In respect of reporting such events, the theft was actually witnessed by several local residents as it occurred mid afternoon. Unfortunately rather than seeing a load of thugs ripping out the cable the thieves were actually dressed up to look like professional contractors complete with the van. So no one though anything was wrong and they were doing bona fide maintenance work.

      Happy now @No Clue?

    • Avatar No Clue

      Yes quite happy you had no idea about the quality of the cable and you comprehend something new should perform better than something new, congrats on figuring that out.

    • Avatar No Clue

      Opps rather “something new should perform better than something old…”

  2. Avatar No Rest

    Im guessing BT have insurance against this sort of thing and wont care!

  3. Avatar GNewton

    And there are still forum members here who can’t see the irony of this situation, who even feel sorry for BT. Pure madness to continue patching up old copper!

    • What do you suggest they do?

      They can’t just cut people over to FTTP. Would take too long and Ofcom won’t allow it.

      Perhaps Ofcom should face your ire some?

    • Avatar GNewton

      Ofcom is one of the reasons why the UK has virtually no fibre broadband (unless you are brainwashed by ASA/Virgin/BT into believing otherwise). The real madness is implementing multiple concurrent networks, rather than REPLACING copper with fibre over a reasonable period.

      Sometimes you wonder where all this “Can’t Do” attitude comes from!

  4. Avatar No Clue

    AGAIN… People please report this offence, call crimestoppers immediately on your err phone which has not worked for a week. Good old genius BT.

    • Avatar Rusty

      Erm, don’t you normally complain about having to pay for a fixed voice line which you believe to be pointless? I assume that you, like many other people across the world, have alternative means of initiating voice calls, commonly known as a mobile phone?

    • Avatar No Clue

      Nope never said fixed lines are pointless.

    • Avatar Rusty

      Well, regardless of what you have *actually* said in the past, the point about mobile phones still stands. Your post doesn’t add any real value to the article.

    • Avatar No Clue

      And your post with wrongful daydream accusations added even less. Funny how predictable that was eh? Yes the point about mobile still stands, absolutely, so theres no point to repair the nicked copper of even have it there in the first place we can all use mobiles and be rid of BT…. Very good point, happy now?

    • Avatar Rusty

      I’m afraid I have to agree with others on here – there really is no logical thought applied to any of your posts or responses. You just seem to love to complain and attack others who disagree with you.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Rusty, he’s just the resident troll/bellend hopefully Mark will ban his id (again) but will no doubt reappear in some other guise to fool us all.

    • Avatar Rusty

      @fibrefred – ‘troll’ is the best word for this. it’s such a shame as I find this website a great source of information as I work in the telecoms industry. The ‘opinions’ of certain folk just spoil thing somewhat. Let’s all debate facts, not slag off how bad the UK has things (things could be so much worse!)

    • Avatar No Clue

      “You just seem to love to complain and attack others who disagree with you.”

      No idea what you mean, i agreed let people use their mobile and scrap the copper, no need to repair it at all, people can just use their mobile, that was your suggestion was it not? No idea why you then went on to talk to yourself, bored this evening was you.

  5. Avatar GNewton

    Could be worse. After last year’s storm in New Jersey, many DSL landlines were never restored, because Verizon felt there was no need for it, see e.g. http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Verizon-Tells-More-Sandy-Victims-Theyll-Never-See-DSL-Repaired-124166

    Of course it is still ironic that a telecom company in the UK, in the year 2014, still has to deal with copper lines in the first place.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Would this be the telco that the government stopped from rolling out FTTP some years ago?

    • Avatar GNewton

      @TheFacts: Keep on asking your stupid questions.

      BTW.: Have you done your homework yet? Remember the questions from a few months ago?

    • Avatar No Clue

      Im just amazed that he thinks a decision a government of decades ago has any affect on the decisions or allowances of a government today on BT. Obviously he just thinks they gave BT millions for nothing.

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