Thursday 19 April 2012
Combating cable thieves with the help of The Archers
Metal theft is a national problem that costs the UK economy £770million a year and the Openreach network presents rich pickings for thieves. But it’s not just the monetary cost – cable theft affects the connection of phones, TVs and broadband, and can massively impact communities, isolating vulnerable people and in some cases limiting access to emergency services.
Openreach has been working with the police, SmartWater and Crimestoppers to raise awareness of the problem and let people know how they can help combat it.
And the campaign got a real boost recently when cable theft caused havoc for the residents of Ambidge during an episode of BBC Radio 4’s The Archers.
The programme’s storyline initially develops around the broadband connection being down at Grey Gables and the resultant chaos. It’s discovered that thieves have stolen a length of copper cable between the exchange and Ambridge, and it could take several days to sort...
From radio to reality
Of course, when a real community loses its connection because of cable theft, it’s vital that things get up and running as soon as possible.
So when services to hundreds of homes and businesses near Yeovil, Somerset, were hit after thieves removed 2km of underground cable, Openreach engineers leapt into action to restore phone and broadband connections in less than three days.
John Woodhouse, of John Woodhouse Associates, in the village of Montacute, sent a message saying: “We are so grateful for the speed that your engineers have rectified the situation.
“They must have worked 24/7 and I would like them to know that the villagers of Montacute are extremely grateful.”
Openreach production management allocator Nick Weir passed on the message to the team of engineers involved, and said they had set “truly exceptional standards”.
He added: “You all worked as a team and, at very short notice, were prepared to put your personal lives to one side in an effort to give Montacute their lines back. You should all be very proud of what you achieved.”
Find out what Openreach is doing to combat cable theft at www.openreach.co.uk/cableprotection or view the SmartWater video here.