Infrastructure protectionInnovative CCTV protects copper cables

Published 14 March 2012

The theft of copper cables has cost the British economy an estimated £770 million a year over the last few years; British company which rely on copper cables to deliver their services are deploying an innovative CCTV to combat the thieves

According to the U.K. Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the theft of copper cables has cost the British economy an estimated £770 million a year over the last few years.

BT, a company which relies on copper cables to transmit its services to consumers, is trying to combat these thefts, and the losses they cause (BT says it suffers £2,000 a day losses on average from copper cables theft) by deploying an innovative surveillance technology from Dublin-based Kinesense.

SiliconRepublicreports that stealing copper cables is dangerous, but the rewards are high: the cables are valued at €6,000 per ton, and the risks involved in cutting them notwithstanding, they offer relatively easy targets for thieves: unprotected copper cables stretch for hundred of miles in open country, and they can be accesses in remote, unprotected substations.

n every day.

SR notes that Eircom has reported that 2,500 km of its cables were stolen in 2011.

 “Metal theft is a problem that has been getting progressively worse for us over the past three to four years as the way in which criminals are stealing these metals has become more and more sophisticated,” BT delivery support manager Graeme Summers told SR. “We have been pro-active in attempting to prevent these crimes, and we have brought in new technologies in order to stop these thefts occurring.”


Dr. Daniel Ellin, chief engineer with Kinesense told SR: “We developed this technology for law enforcement, but increasingly we are being approached by private companies with the same problems…. Now it’s being used by train companies and even logistics companies to cut down on criminal activity.”