Communication cables serving 500 properties set alight

Lids were removed from two footway boxes containing broadband and phone cables.

Communication cables serving up to 500 homes and businesses in Glasgow have been set alight in what has been described as a “mindless attack”.

Lids were removed from two footway boxes containing broadband and phone cables in Springboig Avenue, Cranhill, over Thursday night and into Friday.

Flammable liquid was poured on the cables then set alight.

Openreach engineers are now working to repair the links.

The company has criticised the incident with its employees, deemed key workers, having to congregate in the area during coronavirus lockdown measures.

Fraser Rowberry, service director for Openreach in Scotland, is asking anyone with information to contact the police.

He said: “This was a mindless attack deliberately committed to cause disruption to people’s services.

“It was done with absolutely no consideration for the potential impact on residents – who may well include vulnerable or elderly residents, businesses trying to keep going during the lockdown and families juggling work and home schooling.

“Our front-line engineers in Scotland are designated as key workers and they are on the case working on repairs.

“Unfortunately this means additional people and vehicles congregating in the area – the repairs are extremely challenging bearing in mind current restrictions.”

He added: “We’re taking precautions to keep our people and residents safe.

“We hope to have services restored to 60% to 70% of those affected tonight.

“The remainder of the work is more complex and is likely to last into the weekend.”

Openreach has also reported an increase in incidents of “mindless verbal abuse or intimidation” due to engineers working on streets.

Some are “linked to bogus theories about a link between 5G and Covid-19”.

A statement from the company said: “As key workers, our engineers are playing a vital role in connecting crucial public services, vulnerable customers and millions of friends, families and businesses throughout Scotland.

“Engineers carry letters explaining their key worker status and we’re also asking members of the public to respect their key worker status and observe social distancing rules.”

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