TelEm Group is stepping up action against thieves in the community who are stripping cables from the company’s underground telecommunication network and reselling them for scrap metal.
The company is reporting the matter to the police for further action and will be stepping up security patrols where cables are presently exposed.
Notices are also being posted in the local media warning of prosecution of those who either tamper with or maliciously damage the company’s underground telecommunication cables.
The latest theft took place in the Middle Region area last week, knocking out more than 400 of TelEm Group’s landline and internet users.
“The outage was caused by a huge section of our copper cable that was sawn off in two parts,” said TelEm Group Outside Plant Manager, Mr. Anthony Carty.
He said in his view it is impossible that the person or persons who cut the cable could have done so without being seen committing the illegal act or putting the cut cable into a waiting vehicle.
“If someone sees such an action taking place in their own area and they don’t do anything to stop it or report it, they are not only putting their community in danger but also themselves and their own families who will not be able to use their phone in the event of an emergency,” said Mr. Carty.
He said a similar incident happened in the Cole Bay area recently and in other areas around the island where the company cables are exposed.
“Sometimes, like in the case in Middle Region we have no option but to leave the cable exposed while road works are ongoing. Once the work is finished the cables are buried again and they are out of sight. While they are waiting to go underground they should be left alone and not tampered with,” continued Mr. Carty.
Meantime, Mr. Carty said work is underway to restore telephone lines in the Middle Region area resulting from the theft of cable.
“We have been hampered by poor weather and difficult access due to roadworks in the area, but if all goes as planned service should be resumed by Friday,” added the Outside Plant manager.
TelEm Group’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Eldert Louisa, says the matter of theft of company propery is being reported to the police so that further action can be taken and also in the general public interest.
“The theft and damage of TelEm Group telecommunication cables is not only expensive to replace, but also constitutes a great danger to the community, therefore we must take this development very seriously,” said Mr. Louisa.
Mr. Louisa said persons and salvage companies offered TelEm Group telecommunication cables for sale are asked to report the matter to the police or to TelEm Group at 546 – 0100. All reports will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
He said TelEm Group will be discussing with the public prosecutor what actions the company can take in the event company telecommunication cables are found in the possession of salvage and scrap metal companies.
“The cooperation of the general public is requested to prevent this very serious situation from getting out of hand,” said the CTO.