Advanced Television

Openreach tackles cable thefts

April 26, 2024

By Colin Mann

An invisible DNA marker that links criminals to crime scenes is playing a key role in helping UK digital infrastructure provider Openreach clamp down on cable thefts.

The number of incidents, which often cause widespread phone and broadband disruption, dropped last year across the UK by more than 30 per cent.

But Openreach’s security team is urging members of the public to remain vigilant, especially as lighter evenings can lead to an increase in thefts.

The overall reduction was achieved by a wide range of anti-theft measures including coating miles of underground cables with a synthetic DNA and UV tracer, called SelectaDNA.

Now widely used across the Openreach network, it easily transfers to hands and clothing, and recently helped secure three convictions in Lincolnshire, including a 16-month prison sentence for attempted theft.

“Cable thefts are hugely disruptive,” declared Richard Ginnaw from Openreach, “The loss of phone and broadband is not only inconvenient but can put vulnerable people at risk. Repair work also pulls our engineers away from other work, can take weeks to finish, and costs thousands of pounds.”

“We take the security of our network seriously and have a wide range of crime prevention tools to prevent thefts and catch those responsible. Our dedicated security team investigates all attacks and our network is alarmed and monitored 24/7 by our control centre.”

“SelectaDNA is proving to be one of the best. We can put it on equipment throughout the Openreach network and it works by leaving a unique DNA trace on people and vehicles that have contact with it.”

“We really hope criminals will take note of this new crime-fighting tool and continue to think twice before deciding to target Openreach’s network.”

Openreach is working with a wide range of stakeholders – including SelectaDNA – to help reduce criminal attacks on infrastructure.

The company also works closely with local police, Crimestoppers, the National Crime Agency, British Transport Police and Network Rail.

‘‘The benefits of using SelectaDNA are twofold,” advises James Brown from SelectaDNA. “Not only does it help prevent and reduce crime, it also helps the police by providing irrefutable evidence to link offenders to crime scenes. Openreach’s approach to tackling crime is very proactive and innovative, and results like this demonstrate how well their tactics are working.”

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Business, Cable, FTTH, Piracy, Regulation, Telco

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