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BT Openreach and Crimestoppers vow to 'eradicate' broadband cable theft

Thursday, May 21st 2015 by Ellen Branagh

BT Openreach has extended its partnership with crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers to tackle cable theft and minimise the disruption it can cause.

The infrastructure arm of BT and Crimestoppers have been working together since 2011 to clamp down on criminals stealing copper broadband cabling from the Openreach network.

And yesterday they reaffirmed their commitment by renewing their partnership for a fifth year.

Cable theft can cause significant damage and disruption to local communities and businesses, and needs constant vigilances because specific attacks are hard to anticipate and prevent.

Crimestoppers said it received a total of 50 pieces of information in 2014-2015 relating to offences against the Openreach network, which helped lead to two arrests.

Six rewards of up to £1,000 were offered for information that led to an arrest and successful conviction of those committing offences in areas including London and the North East, the charity said.

'Highly disruptive'

Rodger Holden, director of business development at Crimestoppers, said: “Crimestoppers and Openreach’s partnership continues to go from strength to strength and reaffirms our commitment to tackling an issue that can be highly disruptive to communities across the UK.

“Cable theft and damage to the network is an issue that doesn’t seem to want to go away, and through working with Openreach and the support of the public, we hope we can eradicate this problem and ensure businesses and communities do not have to suffer any longer.”

Bernie Auguste, head of security for Openreach, added: "Our business remains committed to tackling the scourge of cable theft and network damage which impacts on both our customers and our business.

“Our relationship with Crimestoppers is one of the many key elements in our strategy for addressing the problem and the involvement of the public has and continues to provide valuable information in identifying those who perpetrate these acts so that we can bring them to justice."

BT’s Metal Theft Taskforce investigates all incidents involving the theft or damage of cable from within its network.

Made up of 40 dedicated Openreach staff and four investigators from BT Group Security Investigations, the team works with police forces, the British Metals Recycling Association, Crimestoppers and SmartWater to search for stolen cabling and prosecute offenders.

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