Community members have started to act against cable thieves who have been plaguing the telecommunications industry with the theft and destruction of copper and fibre cables and affecting quality of service.
Three individuals on three different occasions spotted suspicious activity in the middle of the night and called the local police to make a report.
These actions have led to the arrest of youths in three areas in the Greater Accra region and have averted thousands of Ghana cedis of revenue loss to Vodafone Ghana, the operator affected by these thefts.
In Mile 7, a young lady spotted six youths with an unbranded truck attempting to pull cables out of a manhole in front of a kiosk at 2am in the morning. Thinking this suspicious, she reported it to the police who confronted the group and apprehended two of the offenders. The damage averted by this quick action by the young lady was in excess of GHC 60,000, not to mention the voice and internet network outage that would have been experienced by the local community.
The next morning there were reports of another act of bravery by a group of people who had volunteered to patrol the Middle East area of Ashaiman after numerous cable thefts had left them without a Vodafone service on several occasions. They apprehended two youths who were known to collect scrap in the area at 1am in the morning after they were trying to drive away with metres of copper cables. The damage caused at the site was in excess of GHC 25,000 and will affect 1,000 customers.
Another act of bravery was by a staff member of Vodafone who spotted six youths pulling underground cables into a truck at 4am. He approached the group and with the help of passersby apprehended two of the offenders; he called a team member from the Corporate Security unit at Vodafone and together they escorted the suspects to the police station. The damage caused in that incident was in excess of GHC 50,000 and affected 1,200 Vodafone customers.
Michael Mbroh, Head of Corporate Security commented on the actions of individuals; ‘We are very grateful for the diligence and bravery of these community members. Cable thefts causes Vodafone Ghana huge financial losses but I think customers are now beginning to feel the impact of the actions of these thieves on their ability to communicate. We don’t ask customers to approach the suspects but we do urge them to report any suspicious activity to the nearest police station or call our shortcode 155 – it is manned twenty four hours a day by a member of staff from our security department. We can only stamp out the menace of cable theft if we work together with the Police and members of the community as we are all affected by these illegal acts. We’re appealing for our customers to ‘own the Network’ in their areas and stay vigilant.’
Network customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by the service interruptions caused by the indiscriminate cutting and theft of copper cables.
The Corporate Security Department at Vodafone Ghana are working very closely with the Police to make sure all suspects are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and police informers appropriately rewarded.
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