1 June 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Patsy McArdle

A garda alert was sparked in the Mid-Monaghan border area last weekend after gangs involved in the stealing of copper cut telephone lines leaving some homes without a landline communications system.
Gardai in the Cavan/Monaghan Division issued an appeal for any help which the public can give in tracking down the copper-wire thieves.
The appeal was issued after more than 100 foot of Eircom cabling was stolen in the Tullyhattina area, near Castleblayney, close to the South Armagh border.
“It is quite possible these thieves are operating from across the Border and targeting telephone cabling in isolated rural areas, which they sell at an attractive price, because of the high demand for copper at the present time,” a garda spokesman said.
Last month, the ‘copper thieves’ struck at several other rural telephone lines in the West Cavan area and also in Mid-Monaghan, causing extensive damage, and leaving some families without a landline telephone service for a number of days.
Gardai have appealed to people in rural areas to report “all activity” in the vicinity of phone lines.
A spokesman also claimed some of the copper gangs were believed to be wearing luminous-type jackets to “give an impression they are legitimate telecom repair crews”.
An Eircom source said: “This is a completely new departure in rural crime along the Border and it is causing much alarm—all we can say is that the matter is now in the hands of the gardai”.

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