A £1,000 reward is being offered for information that catches thieves who tried to cut and knick broadband cables in Irvine.

Openreach and Crimestoppers launched the appeal after repeated attacks on the phone and internet infrastructure across the country.

Last month, on August 28, criminals attempted to cut underground cables before pulling them out into a nearby field near Broomlands Busway in Stanecastle.

Four other attacks across West and Central Scotland left hundreds of people without phone lines, internet or TV services over the last three weeks.

Angela Parker, Scotland Manager at the charity Crimestoppers, said: “It’s shocking to think that people would steal vital communications cables knowing that communities, already stressed during the isolation of a global pandemic, will suffer. 

“It may appear that no one is harmed or that this is a victimless crime, but the impact on communities is significant. Cable theft disrupts essential broadband services and can even impact on local emergency and vital public services.

"Those involved care little for the consequences of their actions, which is why we are asking anyone with information on those responsible to speak up now.

“If you are unable to speak directly to the police, then our charity is here for you. We can take your information anonymously via our UK Contact Centre. Just fill in our simple and secure online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org or speak to one of our trained staff by calling freephone 0800 555 111. You’ll stay 100 per cent anonymous. Always.”

Richard Ginnaw, senior security manager for Openreach, said: “These incidents have really affected the local communities, especially in a period when people are still being encouraged to maintain social distancing. Not having access to broadband and telephony services seriously affects the ability to do things online as well as stay in touch and check in on loved ones.

“We’re working very closely with police to catch those who are responsible and are deploying additional security enhancements across the area, but we also need your help. Please be vigilant and if you saw anything suspicious on or around the time of the incidents, report it. If you prefer not to speak directly to police, then please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously.”

If you have any information on this incident, please contact the charity Crimestoppers on Freephone 0800 555 111 or fill in a simple and secure anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.