Community rallies after equipment theft

Fibre blowing unit - B4RN theft
Fibre blowing unit - B4RN theft

Thieves have stolen around £15,000 of fibre optic broadband equipment being used to connect rural homes and businesses in the Lune Valley to the internet.

Volunteers from community broadband project B4RN had parked up their trailer for the night at Fleets Farm, Gressingham, after a day of digging and laying fibre optic cable to bring high speed internet to hard to reach areas.

But when they arrived the next day, December 5, they found the trailer’s padlock had been cut and the equipment had been stolen.

Police were called out and are now investigating the high value theft.

Martyn Dews, from B4RN, said the theft was a set back as the organisation was trying to connect properties up before Christmas.

He said: “B4RN is fully insured for all operatives and equipment, however the theft of this equipment was likely to cause delays to work whilst replacements were sourced. B4RN volunteers are making a real push to get as many people as possible connected before Christmas so this was a particularly disheartening blow.

“Fortunately these delays have been eliminated as the community have pulled together in response and loaned money to B4RN so the equipment can be replaced quickly. In addition, one of B4RN’s main suppliers have supplied replacement equipment on a loan basis. This will allow work to continue as planned which will ensure the community, which desperately needs the connectivity, receives it with the minimum of delay.”

Items stolen included a compressor, a generator, a transformer, a fibre optic cable blowing machine, as well as wires and cables.

Anyone with information should contact PC Ben Hanley at Lancaster Police Station on 01524 596608 quoting Crime Reference BA1303993.