Copper cables were stolen from BT fiber subsidiary Openreach’s network in New Forest, Hampshire, earlier this week.

According to the New Milton Advertiser & Lymington Times, the thieves caused significant damage to the network while attempting to steal the copper telecoms cables.

Openreach engineer
An Openreach engineer – Getty Images

The incident, which took place on April 29, impacted 128 premises in the region.

An Openreach spokesperson said: “These attacks cause significant damage and unacceptable disruption to the lives of local people and put vulnerable people at risk. Engineers are working to restore services as quickly and safely as possible.”

The operator added that it had been deploying anti-theft technology to prevent the rise in copper cable theft. Last month, Openreach reported a 30 percent decrease in cable theft after it deployed forensic tracking technology SelectaDNA.

However, this new technology cannot be applied to cables that are already underground, meaning thieves can still continue to target copper cables.

In 2023, BT confirmed it would not be selling new voice copper telephone lines on its Openreach national network. The rollout of fiber will reduce thefts as the material holds no value to thieves.

Last year in Oxfordshire, cable thieves left a UK village without Internet connectivity for almost two weeks after more than 500 meters of copper cable was stolen from Openreach’s network.

Last month, two people were arrested in Texas, US, for the theft of a copper cable.