A quick-witted BT engineer was able to assist in the arrest of three would-be cable thieves in Cambridge.
The engineer, working on Milton Road spotted three men acting suspiciously and called the police at 2.45PM on Wednesday, October 16. The three men from Kent, aged 18, 25 and 35, were promptly arrested.
Theft of copper cable, fuelled by the rising global demand for raw materials, is a major problem for BT, Network Rail and other large service providers.
Read our guide to copper cable theft and BT’s RABIT technologyAs well as requiring BT to replace stolen cable, theft means that customers can do for days and weeks without access to broadband.
It’s not people in the immediate vicinity who can be affected. Earlier this year an attemped cable theft in Manchester caused millions of people across Greater Manchester to lose TV and broadband services.
In a bid to clamp down on copper theft and the trading of stolen metal, the Scrap Metal Dealers Act was introduced. Dealers now have to keep detailed records of customers and cash payments cannot be accepted.
BT has developed an early warning system called RABIT (Rapid Assessment BT Incident Tracker) that detects suspicious activity on the Openreach network. This has proven to curtail theft, but in this case it was quick thinking and a call to the police that led to arrests.
The three men have now been released on bail.