BT, Scotland Yard create copper theft taskforce

As a frequent target of copper theft, BT (NYSE: BT) hopes that a new joint group it has created with Scotland Yard will help nip the problem in the bud.

The new Waste and Metal Task Force consists of the Metropolitan Police service, representatives from BT, and members of the Bexley council environmental crime unit, which monitors scrap metal dealers that sell copper wiring.   

"Metal theft is not a victimless crime but is causing increasing misery to commuters and householders, and costing millions to the rail industry and local authorities," said Chief Superintendent David Chinchen, who led Scotland Yard's Operation Ferrous, which is the Met's investigation into metal theft.

Chinchen added that the new group has set a goal to "identify, disrupt and deter those involved in this illegal trade, and acted as an important intelligence-gathering exercise for future operations so that we can target those evading the law and those who supply them even more effectively."

One recent investigation reported the theft of £16,000 (USD25,000)-worth of BT cable and copper earthing straps from a National Grid substation in the Bexley borough.

Copper theft has not just been a problem for BT in the UK. It has been a global problem for any incumbent telco that has a copper network infrastructure.

In the U.S., major incumbent telcos AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Frontier (NYSE: FTR) have all been victims of copper theft and have been working with local authorities to root out the thieves and unscrupulous scrap metal dealers. AT&T, for one, reported that its Alabama region has seen the highest rate of copper theft.   

For more:
- The Register has this article

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