Telephone cable theft
Police have appealed for information after thieves caused
£150,000 damage in one of the worst cases of telephone cable theft
More than 1,000 metres of cable were damaged and 300 metres
stolen in the incident which happened near South Woodham Ferrers at
1.30am on November 8.
Hundreds of homes and businesses had their telephones and
broadband services cut off for several days until repairs were
Three other incidents of theft or damage to cable have been
reported in the South Woodham Ferrers area since August. Similar
offences have been reported in Bicknacre, Great Baddow and Sandon,
also since August.
Many other thefts have been reported in other parts of Essex as
thieves steal BT cable for its copper content.
The crimes tend to happen in the early hours of the morning and
are thought to involve several men using machinery to pull the
bulky cable out of underground ducts before cutting it in short
sections using hydraulic cutters.
Supt Mark Wheeler, who is leading operations against metal
thieves, said: “Cable thefts are causing widespread disruption to
businesses and householders and whole communities have found
themselves cut off.
“We want to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in the
Burnham Road area in the early hours of November 8.
“Motorists driving past might have seen several vehicles, one of
which might have been towing a trailer carrying a heavy duty winch
which would have been used to haul the very thick and heavy cable
out of the underground ducts.
“We believe the cable would have been cut into short lengths which
would have been loaded into a van or lorry.
“The thieves are very sophisticated and use vehicles and equipment
that is similar to the machinery used by BT.
“We would urge people across the county to watch out for these
thieves, but they tend to operate in rural areas where they stand
less chance of being seen. We would also urge people in rural areas
to dial 999 if they hear machinery operating in suspicious
circumstances at night.”