A ex-BT employee has been arrested for helping gang of criminals steal thousands of pounds worth of copper broadband cable.
Zeki Mehmed from Potters Bar, who worked for BT for 30 years, revealed to a gang of nine the locations where large amounts of BT cable could be located.
Using a stolen BT van and high visibility vests, ringleader Simon Read, 40, of Chadwell Heath, and his accomplices would pose as workmen, setting up cones and cordons. Over two tonnes of copper was stolen, which was sold as scrap.
Read Recombu Digital’s reports on Broadband Cable Theft and BT’s anti-theft RABIT technologyThe gang were arrested last December, before the Scrap Metal Dealers Act was passed. The Act, which makes cash payments for scrap illegal, has been designed to help curb the rise in cable theft.
All ten men were found guilty in October 2013. On Friday, November 29, both Mehmed and Read were sentenced to four years in prison.
Barnet Today press reveals that Tommy Taylor, 36, from Wickford, helped value and sell on the copper and was found guilty of conspiracy to steal. He was jailed for nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 220 hours of community service.
Acting Detective Superintendent Neil Thompson, said: “This was a highly organised criminal network who threatened the very infrastructure of the country, putting the public at risk through their reckless disregard of the communications networks.
“The offence was heightened by intelligence provided by a BT employee to the gang. The London Crime Squad has worked tirelessly alongside BT investigators to bring the offenders to justice.”
It is not know how many broadband and phone customers suffered as a result of the gang’s actions. Cable theft is a serious crime that affects companies including BT and Network Rail. As well as affecting customers in the immediate vicinity of the crime, cable theft can cause disruptions hundreds of miles away in some cases.