LIME says theft of copper cables increased last year
Telecoms company lost J$38.3m to scrap metal robbers in 2013
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Telecommunications company LIME says it has experienced significant increase in copper cable theft over the past three years; moving from 48 incidents in 2011 at a loss of J$13.5 million; to 56 incidents in 2012 totaling J$23.8 million; and 55 incidents in 2013 resulting in losses at a staggering J$38.3 million.
LIME’s report comes against the background of statements by government’s Minister of Information Sandrea Falconer last week that there has been a reduction in scrap metal theft since the reopening of the metal trade early 2013.
According to LIME Jamaica CEO, Garfield Sinclair, “We are not opposed to the additional scrap metal export regulations implemented in January 2013 which imposed restrictions on copper exports. However, we have not seen where these restrictions have resulted in abatement in the theft of our copper cables at a tremendous cost to our business.”
In the most recent case reported, thieves struck on February 12 at what appears to be a “hot spot” for cable theft along the Hellshire main road in Portmore, St Catherine.
The telecoms company reported that the robbers cut a 400-metre section of copper cable which delivers telephone services to hundreds of customers in the communities of Upper Fort, Johnson Ridge, Cannon Ridge, Edge Hill and Hellshire Park Estate. One man was arrested at the scene by the Greater Portmore Police shortly after an alarm was raised. The others escaped leaving the severed cable behind.
Sinclair said that since 2000 LIME has lost close to J$400 million to scrap metal thieves.