Telephone gang hunted
POLICE are today on the trail of a gang of robbers who have stolen cash from a string of telephone kiosks in Suffolk.More than 25 have been targeted in the past two months, with cordless drills used to plunder the small amounts of change held in the kiosks.
POLICE are today on the trail of a gang of robbers who have stolen cash from a string of telephone kiosks in Suffolk.
More than 25 have been targeted in the past two months, with cordless drills used to plunder the small amounts of change held in the kiosks.
Suffolk police have launched an ongoing fight against the problem, named operation cordless.
Pay phones in Ascot Drive, Ipswich, Reynolds Road, Ipswich, Wenham Road, Great Wenham and Eye Road, Kenton have all been hit in recent days.
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A number of the offences have been linked, although it is thought more than one gang may be operating the scam. In some cases, stolen vehicles have been used to carry out the attacks.
Detective chief inspector Jon Brighton, of Suffolk police, said: "Unfortunately, at this time of year we do see an increase in the number of thefts from telephone kiosks.
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"This is particularly the case in more rural areas of Suffolk. Despite the ever increasing number of people who use mobile phones, these kiosks can be a lifeline for some of the more remote villages."
Jason Mann, of BT, said the problem is nothing new, although great strides have been made in improving security.
He said: "Pay phones are emptied regularly and, thankfully, we've been successful in driving down the costs involved in theft and vandalism.
"We're consistently working to improve security. It's important the pay phones are able to work in the event of an emergency."
The crime spree has prompted fears some rural phone kiosks may be closed, but BT deny this.
Mr Mann said: "We've recently done a review of our pay phone service and we made a very clear commitment at that time that we would continue to provide a comprehensive service in the UK.
"That hasn't changed."
Anyone with information about the crimes, or who notices any suspicious activity around telephone boxes, is asked to call Suffolk police on 01473 613500.
Has your local telephone kiosk been targeted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org