Copper wire theft on the increase

OPPORTUNIST thieves are stealing valuable copper wiring from Eircom overhead phonelines from around the county.

OPPORTUNIST thieves are stealing valuable copper wiring from Eircom overhead phonelines from around the county.

Gardai have confirmed that over 2.5 kilometres of cable was stolen from Kilmacar and Johnswell in two separate incidents recently. Phone lines in the south of the county were also targeted by thieves.

“We are asking people to be vigiliant. If there are people who appear to be working on overhead wires and are acting suspiciously we would ask the public to contact gardai immediately. Also if anyone sees people working on overhead lines late in the evening they should contact us immediately,” a garda spokesman said.

The garda spokesman added that there had been an increase in the theft of metal. “If people have scrap metal lying around in farmbuildings or outhouses they should make sure it is secure as there are a number of criminals scouring the countryside scavenging for metal,” he said.

A further 100 metres has been stripped from poles near Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary. This is the fourth time this year that telephone cables on the Kilmoganny to Carrick-on-Suir route were cut down and stolen leaving numerous customers out of action. The damage was done in the Baunreigh area.

According to a garda spokesman the rising price of metals is driving thieves to target phonelines, which contain valuable copper. It is estimated that the cost to Eircom of replacing the cable stolen from Johnswell amounted to 10,000 euro.

The spokesman for the company said: “All Eircom employees carry ID. It is not common to see our people working at night unless they are restoring lines because of a gale or the like. If people see something they think is suspicious they should immediately contact the gardaí who can check it with us.”