Gardaí have arrested a man in his 30s as part of an ongoing investigation into the theft of telephone cable in the Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath areas.

He is currently detained under the provisions of Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 at a Garda station in the North Western Region.

Investigations are ongoing. An Garda Síochána is appealing for information from the public arising from the theft of telephone cable in the Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath areas in recent months.

In the past six months there have been 66 incidents of cable theft nationwide. The vast majority of these have occurred in the Cavan / Monaghan, Louth and Meath Garda divisions.

These cables are likely being targeted for copper contained within the cable itself. The theft has not only resulted in significant loss to the affected telephone provider – in these cases Eir – but has also greatly impacted the public by way of telephone and internet service outages.

These thefts have to date been primarily occurring in rural locations and when these cables are removed 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 a phone service can significantly impact on their ability to access emergency services, medical alarm services and other supports.

To date more than 1,500 households have had their services disrupted due to thefts of this nature nationwide.

An Garda Síochána is today issuing an appeal to the public for assistance and is asking for vigilance in relation to this type of theft.

Sgt Michael Duffy, Crime Prevention Office for Cavan/Monaghan Division said, “An Garda Síochána 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”.

He added, “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”.

As well as appealing to the public for vigilance in relation to this crime, An Garda Síochána is 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 Síochána.

An incident room has been set up at Carrickmacross Garda Station and anyone with information can make contact with them on 042-9690190 or via their local Garda Station