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West Kent UK Residents Suffer After String of Criminal Attacks on BT Cables

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 (9:27 am) - Score 1,115

Homes and businesses around the villages of Dunton Green and Chipstead in Kent (England) have faced multiple losses of broadband and phone connectivity after criminals repeatedly damaged Openreach’s (BT) local telecoms cables between 18th and 26th May 2017.

The Kent Online article describes the recent string of incidents as being “vandalism“, although this often happens as a direct result of an attempted cable theft. Criminals tend to target the core copper telecoms cables in Openreach’s network, not least because the price of copper has surged since the end of last year.

Bernie Auguste, Openreach’s General Manager of Security, said:

“These incidents have impacted on the day to day life of the people of Dunton Green and Chipstead areas of Kent. We are working closely with Kent Police to bring the people responsible for these crimes to justice. We have deployed additional security enhancements within the area, but we also need your help.

Please be vigilant and if you saw anything suspicious on or around the time of the incidents then please contact Crimestoppers or the Police.”

Over the past few years there has been a decline in attempted cable thefts (Metal Theft), which can be partly attributed to tougher rules against dodgy scrap metal dealers (2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act) and security enhancements by Openreach (e.g. chemically tagging copper cables via SmartWater). On top of that the operator has also been rolling out a lot of new fibre optic cables, which aren’t worth stealing.

Openreach also has a long running partnership with Crimestoppers, which started in 2011 and offers up to £1,000 as a reward for information leading to arrests and subsequent successful convictions (call anonymously and free on 0800 555 111).

Leave a Comment
1 Response
  1. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    I doubt OR have been removing much, if any, copper because it’s been replaced by fibre. Fibre tends to be an overlay and the copper still has to be in place for LLU & MPF (not to mention the final part from the PCP is no fibre with FTTC installations. Copper pairs come in cable bundles and it’s not possible to remove the cable until all lines have been migrated.

    In that there are “pure fibre” locations, these will tend to be new build sites.

    So I suspect that this sort of thing is going to be an ongoing nuisance for a long time. These thieves also go for track-side signalling cable as well causing disruption on the railways.

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