First Conviction Under Telecommunications Act for Cable Theft

A Couva man was last Friday [November 3, 2006] sentenced to three years hard labour for stealing TSTT telephone cable in Mc Bean, becoming the first person to be convicted under the Telecommunications Act.

Cpls Larry Foster and Mc Sween, of the TSTT Police, had arrested the man the day before with the co-operation of Mc Bean residents. Already on bail for a similar offence, he was held with TSTT telephone cable, a hacksaw and other implements. The man was charged with maliciously damaging telecommunications infrastructure and appeared the next morning in the Couva Magistrates’ Court.

The presiding magistrate admitted being unfamiliar with the Telecommunications Act but Sgt Asson – of the TSTT Police – furnished her with a copy of the legislation. The magistrate later found the man guilty as charged and jailed him.

TSTT Head of Security, Safety and Environment, Dennis Gordon, commended the company’s Investigative Unit on the arrest, saying that the cutting and theft of telephone cable for copper caused customers immeasurable grief and cost the company approximately $1M per month.

He noted that last week’s arrest and conviction came in the wake of a multi-pronged attack on cable theft by TSTT, which included the introduction of a range of anti-cable theft devices and continued joint raids with the Police Service on suspect metal dealers. Gordon said: “I hope this historic conviction under the Telecommunications Act will serve as a deterrent to those whose selfish actions prevent other people from being able to make urgent or emergency calls, conduct business or simply connect with family and friends.”