TSTT Mounts Massive Attack on Cable Theft

August 2006

There’s a huge underground industry in copper and it’s affecting the public directly. The cutting and theft of telephone cables is costing consumers un-quantifiable grief and TSTT approximately $1M per month.

For the first eight days in August alone, over 4,100 subscribers were victims of cable cuts nationwide. These persons were unable to make urgent or emergency calls, to conduct important business or connect with family and friends.

TSTT has been making some headway, with the arrests of seven persons since July this year through collaborative efforts between TSTT police and national police. In some cases thieves have been caught red-handed. “More and more often, we are capturing them and retrieving the cable”, pointed out Dennis Gordon, Head – Security, Safety and Environment at TSTT. “Also recently two metal dealers have been charged. But even when we catch the thief red-handed, the damage has already been done”.

While some progress has been made, Gordon admits that these individual arrests represent only a fraction of the activity. “The problem is that the thief is not always the end user. Thieves steal the cable, retrieve the copper and then sell illegally to both licensed and un-licensed metal dealers."

What is TSTT's plan? While not in a position to divulge details, it’s safe to say the company is attacking from both ends. Security measures range from simple locking devices to, with aid of technology, sophisticated intrusion detection devices. Efforts are in train to increase anti cable theft devices. Together with the police, the conducting of periodic raids on premises of suspected metal dealers continues, as all metal dealers must have proof of all metals found in their possession.

“To cut a cable, you have to climb a pole and it takes time”, continued Gordon. “Once you cut the cable, there’s a major cost incurred. Just ask any of the residents of Princes Town, Arima, or any of the areas recently hit by theft. This cable theft is causing too much hardship to our customers and as a company we will not stand by and allow it to continue.”

Public support is growing as customers begin to understand the connection between the action and the consequence, and the company intends to pursue everyone caught to the full extent of the law. The company urges the public to contact 66-CABLE, 800-TIPS or the E999 service to report cable theft.