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Cable theft is a crime. It is a crime that affects people and communities across the UK. Criminals and organised crime gangs steal cable to make money, and don't care how this impacts the UK's public.

Cable theft can leave people with no phone, mobile, broadband/Wi-Fi or TV service for days and sometimes weeks. This can isolate people living alone, leave people with no way of contacting the emergency services, and mean that people are unable to work from home.

It can mean power cuts when the supply of power is severed.

It can also adversely affect the rail travel of those wanting to go on holiday or visit friends and family, the journeys of commuters, and those needing to get to important appointments.  It also delays the delivery of goods via freight train, which has a knock-on effect on businesses and can leave spaces on shelves, meaning consumers in affected areas can't buy what they need.

The companies who supply these services work hard to replace the stolen cable as quickly as possible, in order to enable life to get back to normal. But when incidents are so frequent, it means that the reinstatement of services can be delayed by the volume of work the thefts create.

There has been a large number of cable thefts across the country this year, affecting telecoms, broadband, TV, and rail services - and in turn, the lives of those who use them.

Thousands of households and rail passengers have been affected by this crime this year alone:

  • 51 incidents of cable theft affected 3,071 trains across the UK in 2021/22.
  • Last year, cable thieves in South Yorkshire cost British taxpayers around £280,000.
  • A spate of cable thefts took place across Cambridgeshire in January 2022, affecting homes and businesses across the area.
  • Rail cable theft incidents were being reported daily in the first week of April 2022.
  • 1,200 customers lost their broadband and phone network in Wrexham in May 2022. after the theft of copper telecoms cable. This followed two prior thefts that occurred earlier in the same month in the same area – overall, these thefts had an impact on over 4,000 premises.
  • 4,000 metres of cable were stolen in Lincoln in May 2022, which resulted in around 200 local homes and businesses being disconnected from their telephone, mobile, Wi-Fi and TV services.
  • 8,000 premises lost their broadband connection as a result of cable theft in Maidstone in June 2022.

These are just a few examples - which begs the question... Why should you suffer at the hands of criminals?

Companies affected by this crime are taking it seriously and are bringing in new ways of catching the criminals in the act, encouraging those with information to tell them what they know so they can identify the thieves, and working more closely with law enforcement to bring them to justice - with courts taking the theft of cable extremely seriously.

If you have information on cable theft, you can tell us what you know, 100% anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111 or completing our simple online form. Help us keep communities connected.