THE crime fighting charity Crimestoppers has declared Doncaster a hotspot for cable crime after a major wave of thefts.
The organisation is trying to clampdown on the problem in a joint campaign with BT cable firm Openreach and has revealed there have now been almost 60 incidents of cable theft since April.
The company has put up a £2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.
The first major report of cable theft in the borough came in April when the village of Arksey had its phone lines cut off because of thieves. Since then, a stream of cases have followed, with Stainforth among the worst hit parts of Doncaster.
The Field Road Surgery doctors’ practice was cut off for three weeks because of thefts.
Its telephones are now working again after repairs were carried out.
Crimestoppers say criminals have been stealing copper cables that are used to provide essential phone, TV and broadband services. One theft can mean hundreds of houses are left without connection, causing widespread disruption to communication channels.
Dave Hunter, Crimestoppers’s regional manager for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “Cable theft not only causes inconvenience to the local community, but it is also dangerous as it can impact the 999 network, phone-based telecare systems and isolate vulnerable individuals with no other means of communication.
“We hope that by working with Openreach we can stamp out this recent spate of attacks and urge local people to come forward with information about any offences they may know of or suspect.
“Remember, this theft inconveniences you too as you may be left without your TV or broadband for days at a time.”
Bernie Auguste, head of security for Openreach, said the firm was working with police and installing extra protection to try to beat the cable thieves.
He said: “We really need the public’s help in identifying the perpetrators of this crime. We are asking for people to be particularly vigilant for unmarked vehicles and individuals that appear to be working on or near man hole covers or telephone poles, particularly at irregular hours.
“By working together we can send a clear message to thieves that theft will not be tolerated within the community.”
n Anyone with information about cable theft should visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.