Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

BT fights back against crime wave

BT has launched a new weapon in a major new initiative against cable thieves in the North East.

The communications company has begun deploying ‘SmartWater’, a forensically coded invisible paint that ‘tags’ metal thieves and protects the telecoms network in the region and across the UK.

Driven by the recent surge in scrap copper prices, metal theft is a growing problem for communities across the country, as thieves target the copper contained in the local telecoms network, isolating vulnerable people and in some cases limiting access to emergency services.

Last year saw an increase of nine per cent in incidents of deliberate attacks on the BT network. Such attacks cost BT millions of pounds each year.

BT’s Metal Theft Taskforce [MTT] is stepping up its fight back with the roll-out of innovative technology developed by scientists at British company SmartWater.

The partnership operation will be supported by British Transport Police (BTP) and uses cutting-edge forensic marking and GPS tracking technologies. The aims of this will be to not only deter thefts, but to also capture and convict persistent offenders.

Bernie Auguste, head of security for BT’s local network business Openreach, said “Any criminal targeting the BT network in the North East now risks being invisibly ‘tagged’ with SmartWater, meaning that the police can trace them, and any stolen cable or equipment, back to the scene of the crime. Cable theft affects not only us as a business, but all people across the region relying on access to phones and broadband. We are keen to use this technology in the North East where there have been a number of cases of cable theft.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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