Thieves masquerade as workmen in street lighting thefts

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Brazen thieves posed as workmen and donned high visibility jackets in Drumsurn where they stole several metres of street lighting cable along the main road in the village.

The thefts of the cable happened just over a week ago. However it’s emerged that 60 metres of cable were taken from Dunlade Road in Greysteel at the weekend.

Sinn Fein councillor in Drumsurn, Brenda Chivers, said the gang behind the recent theft in the village reportedly donned yellow jackets and placed a sign on the road alerting residents to work as they carried out the theft. It is understood the theft took place mid Sunday afternoon.

“They were brazen to do that,” said Colr. Chivers. “Everyone would have thought they were legitimate because of the workwear they had and the sign on the road. It also shows how people are that desperate they would do anything and stoop that low. Nothing is safe anymore.”

Colr. Chivers said the theft left four to five lights out, some of which have been repaired. However, some parts of the road remain in darkness.

“It’s dangerous because people do walk along there and now with the dark evenings closing in, it’s dangerous. I contacted the street lighting division who said they were working to address the problem as soon as possible, but because there were so many they had to prioritise their work.”

Colr. Chivers said it was a worrying development.

“People in Drumsurn were shocked because nothing like this happens in Drumsurn, but it shows we shouldn’t take anything for granted just because it looks legitimate. If people see something they think is suspicious they should call the police. I do think that there must be some measure put in place to trace where the stolen material goes.”

The theft of street light cabling was also reported in two separate incidents over the weekend in the Greysteel area.

“Around midday on Sunday police were notified about the theft of underground cables on the Sheskin Road,” said a PSNI spokesperson. “Also around 60m of cable was taken from the Dunlade Road sometime during Saturday night/early hours of Sunday. Officers are keen to speak to anyone who saw suspicious vehicles in the area. The telephone number to ring is 0845 600 8000. Alternatively, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Sinn Fein councillor in the area, Dermot Nicholl condemned the incidents and urged residents to report anything suspicious, day or night.

Police say metal thefts are on the increase “and police are working with scrap dealers to make it harder for criminals to sell on stolen material. Replacing cables is both timely and expensive therefore we would encourage the public to be vigilant and to report suspicious activity immediately to police”.