Keep an eye out for Suffolk cable theives

Suffolk Constabulary and Openreach, a BT group company, are asking rural communities to be vigilant this Easter following a number of high-value cable thefts in the county.

Over the past 18 months over �500,000 worth of cable has been stolen from manholes, mostly in the west of Suffolk.

Manholes by the side of the road are opened up and the cabling is dragged out using a vehicle. The thieves will often wear fluorescent jackets to look like genuine workmen. The cabling is then pulled to an adjacent field and cut up so it can be transported away.

Cable stolen support public and essential phonelines for businesses and emergency services.

PC Paul Greenwood, intelligence development officer, said, 'Scrap metal is still fetching high prices, and along with lead and copper piping we are seeing telephone cabling being stolen for its scrap value.

We work closely with scrapyards throughout Suffolk, alerting them when there has been a theft reported and letting them know what to look out for if they are offered cabling for sale.

PC Greenwood continued, 'People living in rural areas can be our eyes and ears, and let us know if they see anything suspicious.

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Farmers, gamekeepers, drivers and dog walkers will all regularly be out and about in the countryside – we want to hear from you if you spot an unmarked van next to an open manhole or an unattended open manhole, someone paying particular attention to the side of the road, or an unusual group of people and large vehicles in a field.

'Not only is this type of crime costing a vast amount of money for our service providers with the value of the cables themselves and the cost to put the damage right, it is putting people's lives at risk if their telephone line is cut off and there is an emergency.

These offences are driven by greed without a thought for the lifeline that could be affected.'

Bernie Auguste, head of security for Openreach said, "Crime does not respect the holiday period and we have seen increases over the last few years around this time.

'I am therefore really pleased with the efforts of Suffolk Police to highlight this problem to the public to get their engagement and support. We urge you to work together with us to help make a difference.'

Anyone with any information about cabling theft, or anyone witnessing any suspicious activity should call Suffolk Police on 01473 613500, or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

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