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Thieves target BT cables as scrap value rises

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Thieves in Sussex made off with more than half a mile of BT cabling in an overnight operation that cut off 800 homes and businesses.

The line was ripped out at between 1am and 2am on Wednesday morning from a rural road near Lewes. Workers discovered the theft at 4am.

The recent recovery in the price of copper has once again made telecoms cables an attractive target for criminals who aim to sell them on the scrap market.

At the end of last year, copper's commodity value plummeted to less than $1.50 per pound. It's now back up around the $3 mark. It's understood there is a direct correlation between the rate of telecoms cable theft and the market value of copper.

"It is believed a vehicle may have been used to pull it out of the ground and then the same or a waiting vehicle used to transport it," a Sussex police spokeswoman said, reports The Argus.

BT has completed work to replace the cable, at a cost of £45,000, and said it was working closely with police in the area to investigate the theft.

The national telco plans to rip out and scrap much of the copper network itself. It is scheduled to install fibre optic cables - either all the way to premises or to as far as streetside cabinets - across 40 per cent of the country by 2012. ®

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