Reward for information on damage to phone services in Billingham

Seaton Carew Road, Billingham. Image: Google Street View.
Seaton Carew Road, Billingham. Image: Google Street View.

A £1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who can help find the people responsible for damage to a telephone exchange in Billingham which left homes and businesses without phone and broadband services.

Crime-fighting Charity Crimestoppers and partner Openreach, a BT Group Business, are appealing for information relating to malicious damage that occurred 800 metres from Seal Sands telephone exchange, Billingham, along Seaton Carew Road, at approximately 10pm on Friday, September 25.

The damage left locals without communications services for a number of hours, with engineers working round the clock to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.

BT uses many security measures in the fight against malicious damage to their network, which includes its alarm technology RABIT (Rapid Assessment BT Incident Tracker), which activates within seconds of an incident happening.

Openreach has a partnership with Crimestoppers that offers up to £1,000 rewards for information on cable thieves that lead to arrests and subsequent successful convictions. People can call the charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Crimestoppers and Openreach began working together in February 2011 and since then have been encouraging more people to help stop malicious damage being caused to this vital national infrastructure.

Dave Hunter, North East regional manager for Crimestoppers, said: “Communities are fed up of having these types of incidents occur because it is hugely disruptive, while it can also be costly to local businesses.

“Don’t let the people responsible for this crime get away with their actions. Contact

Crimestoppers anonymously and do the right thing. Tell us who’s responsible for this crime so local people are not inconvenienced again in future.”

Gary Collinson, from Openreach Security, said: “This attack on our network has left a large number of homes and businesses within the surrounding area without essential telephone broadband and TV services. Our engineers are currently doing everything they can do to restore service as soon as possible.

“We are also working with Cleveland Police to find the individuals responsible for this crime and ask that if you were in the area on Friday and you saw anything suspicious that you call Crimestoppers”.

If you have any information, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through at www.crimestoppers-uk.org