Suffolk: Cable thieves bring down phone links

IPSWICH: A police investigation is under way after thieves attempted to steal cables – leaving dozens of homes without a phone connection.

Thieves struck near to Pound Lane, Little Blakenham, in the early hours of yesterday morning. Police say the offenders lifted a manhole to uncover the cables and attempted to remove them using a vehicle, before being disrupted and fleeing the scene.

The incident caused major disruption in the area, leaving around 75 households without a phone line.

Stephen Wright, who lives in Little Blakenham and is a councillor for the area, said a number of residents had contacted him to complain about the incident.

“I think that these people need to be locked up for what they are doing,” he said.

“I noticed that my phone line wasn’t working when I tried to get on to the internet in the morning, but others say they were affected for most of the night.”

The attempted theft comes just days after BT announced the launch of a new alarm system, put in place to crack down on the growing problem.

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It is believed that the thieves could have been stopped in their tracks by the new RABIT alarm system, which can act within minutes and detect when a cable has been cut.

A spokesman for BT said the firm had received 75 reports faults from people affected by the incident.

“Engineers are assessing the damage and working on what needs to be done to get services restored,” he said. “We are doing all we can to get this done as quickly as possible.”

A police spokesman confirmed that officers were investigating.

He said: “It is believed that sometime between 2am and 2.10am offenders have lifted a manhole cover before using a vehicle to winch out a significant amount of copper cable.

“They have then pulled the cable across a nearby field where it was found by officers.”

Just a week ago, thieves brought down the communication network for five days after stealing more than 1,300 metres of cable from an area in Rendlesham.

Anyone with information in relation to this incident is asked to contact Sgt Neil Paterson at the Stowmarket Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or Crimestopper son 0800 555111.

n Were you affected by this crime? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters @archant.co.uk