Reward on offer for Cambridgeshire cable thefts

A reward of up to £20,000 is available for anonymous information given to the charity Crimestoppers, which leads to the conviction of those responsible for recent cable thefts in the Cambridgeshire villages of Swavesey and Witchford.

The independent charity Crimestoppers and Openreach, the UK’s largest phone and broadband network, have joined forces to appeal for information after a series of recent cable thefts affected hundreds of homes and local businesses.

The reward money is being offered by Openreach, through the charity Crimestoppers, for anonymous information about the thefts, which left emergency services, residential premises and businesses without the use of phones, broadband or TV streaming services.

Large sections of live cable were dragged from the underground network using 4x4 vehicles on Witchford Road, Ely, between 6pm and 9.30pm on Sunday 2 January, and also on Fen Drayton Road, Swavesey, overnight on Tuesday 4 January, between 9.30pm and the early hours of Wednesday 5 January at 2am. There was also previous damage to the network and subsequent disruption in Witchford before Christmas.

Despite swift action by Openreach engineers, who replaced hundreds of metres of cable in both locations within just a couple of days, the damage still caused major disruption for hundreds of households, including essential emergency services. Significant damage was also caused to street furniture, farmland and the RSPB nature reserve in Swavesey following cables being dragged through the protected land.

Openreach has a partnership with Crimestoppers that offers rewards for information given anonymously to the charity about cable thefts that leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. If you have any information on these incidents, please contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or use the anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Annabelle Goodenough, South East Regional Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “The reward amount on offer by Openreach for these extremely disruptive cable thefts reflect the huge amount of damage caused to services and the local environment, and the importance they place on the issue. This is not a victimless crime. With essential emergency services also being severely impacted by this, the potential devastating effect on human life cannot be underestimated.

“We urge anyone with any information on those behind these thefts to speak to Crimestoppers completely anonymously. We know that some people feel unable to speak directly to authorities, which is why our independent charity is here to help. You can tell us what you know while protecting your identity and staying 100% anonymous. Always. This promise has been kept since we began in the 1980s.”

Richard Ginnaw, Head of Security Services for Openreach, said: “These incidents have severely impacted the day-to-day lives of people across these areas of Cambridgeshire, and this is why we are offering this reward. Did you see any suspicious people or vehicles in or around the areas targeted on the dates and times of the incidents or in the days leading up to the thefts?

“We are working closely with the police to catch those who are responsible and have deployed additional security enhancements across the area, but we also need your help. Please be vigilant, and if you saw anything suspicious on or around the time of the incidents, please report it. If you prefer not to speak directly to police, contact the charity Crimestoppers anonymously.”

If you have any information about these incidents, please contact Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111 or through the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org 100% anonymously.