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Stolen broadband cable recovered by ISPs in Bolton
Stolen cables used to supply broadband services have been recovered by Virgin Media and BT Openreach in Bolton.A large amount of fibre optic and copper cabling has been reclaimed by internet service providers (ISPs) following a series of police raids at scrap metal premises in Bolton.
Four sites were visited by the authorities last week as part of Operation Alloy, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed.
Asset recovery teams from both Virgin Media and BT Openreach seized apparatus as a result of the raids, along with representatives of United Utilities and Electricity North West.
The police force said Virgin Media recovered more than 4,000 metres of lead and copper cabling, as well as 160 metres of fibre-optic cabling that could be used to supply broadband and TV services to about 10,000 properties.
BT Openreach seized cable with a value of approximately £1,000.
In a statement, GMP said two people had been arrested on suspicion of theft following roadside checks using number plate recognition technology.
"Metal theft is not a victimless crime and we have recently seen an increase in this type of offence corresponding with the increased value of metal," said Chief Inspector Clara Williams of GMP's Wigan division.
"An investigation into who has sold this property to scrap dealers is now underway."
In May, several areas of south Wales were hit by severe broadband and phone network outages following the theft of copper cables.
BT and Virgin Media services were affected by the criminal activity in Monmouthshire and Newport, with over 80 metres of cable being stolen from one location.
A spokesperson for BT told BBC Wales that such incidents cost the company "millions of pounds each year".
It is thought the thefts were motivated by the rising price of copper, which reached ,728 a tonne in January 2011.