IRELAND - Gardai have had a breakthrough in a case concerning chronic nationwide incidents of telephone cable theft.
In the past six months, telephone cable has been stolen from a total of 66 locations, primarily in the Cavan, Monaghan, Louth, and Meath Garda divisions.
On Wednesday, gardai say, a man has been arrested in connection with their investigation into the thefts.
He is aged in his 30s, and is being detained at a Garda station in the North Western Region.
Gardai say their investigations are continuing and again they have appealed for information from the public.
They say the cables are likely being targeted for copper contained within the cable itself. The thefts have not only resulted in significant loss to the affected telephone provider in these cases Eir - but have also seriously impacted the public by way of telephone and internet service outages.
The thefts to date have primarily been occurring in rural locations. When these cables are taken it can take two to three days in some cases to restore phone and internet services to affected households.
This crime has a detrimental effect on older more vulnerable individuals living in rural communities as the loss of phone service can significantly impact their ability to access emergency services, medical alarm services, and other support mechanisms.
To date, more than 1,500 households across Ireland have had their services disrupted due to thefts of this nature.
"An Garda Siochana wish to advise that works on telephone cables do not take place during the hours of darkness and that if the public notice activity on telephone cables at night, they should treat this as unusual and make contact with their local Garda Station or call 999," Sgt Michael Duffy, Crime Prevention Office for Cavan/Monaghan Division has previously said. "These cables are located over ground on telephone poles, and following these thefts cable casings are often left behind. Where a member of the public observes discarded casings they are urged to also make contact with their local Garda station as this information could be beneficial to this investigation," he said.
An Garda Siochana say they are also liaising with metal dealers and are appealing to them if they are approached to buy significant amounts of copper cable or copper in unusual circumstances, they should make contact with An Garda Siochana.
An incident room is operating at Carrickmacross Garda Station, and anyone with information can make contact with them on 042-9690190 or via their local Garda Station.