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King’s Lynn man jailed for cable theft plot

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A Lynn man has been jailed for three years and eight months for his part in a plot to steal £279,000-worth of underground cabling.

Ricky Read, 40, of Station Road, Lynn, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court in East London after admitting conspiracy to steal.

He was one of 10 men given a total of 32½ years for the plot which was hatched with crooked BT employees.

The thieves stole a telecoms van complete with overalls so they could pose as workers for the company.

They trawled London looking for redundant cabling which could be pulled up, stripped down and sold.

Police seized the cables at a scrapyard in Dagenham, Essex, and rounded up the gang but not before they had caused a £279,635 loss to BT in terms of stolen property and damage.

Cables were stolen from sites across the capital including in Walthamstow, and Islington, during 2012.

Zeki Mehmed, 55, a BT employee for 30 years, was jailed for four and a half years for his role while another ringleader, John Harding, 52, was jailed for five years.

Read was one of six men given three years and eight months for conspiracy to steal.

Tim Naylor, prosecuting, said: “This was an ongoing conspiracy to steal redundant cables from BT.

“They stole from various locations in London which were to be deposited and stripped to be sold for huge profit.

“This was a criminal enterprise to steal metal cabling belonging to BT and they used vans, uniforms and equipment to retrieve the cabling.

“Everything stolen was redundant cabling but this does not take from the fact it was a sophisticated and well organised enterprise which caused huge losses.’

“A BT cable van was stolen and there were no signs of a forced entry which would suggest they would have colluded with at least one BT employee to gain access.”

Mr Naylor said gang members posed as roadside workmen, wearing high visibility vests and setting up cordons and cones before thieving the cable.

They stole between one and three tonnes of BT cable each time they struck with each tonne worth a few thousand pounds.

Acting Det Supt Neil Thompson of the London Crime Squad said: ‘This was a highly organised criminal network who threatened the very infrastructure of the country, putting the public at risk through their reckless disregard of the communications networks.”

 

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