Vandals torch Essex 5G mast leaving 2,700 without phone or broadband

Arsonists torch 5G mast to leave 2,700 without phone or broadband as Covid conspiracy theorists are blamed for third Chelmsford attack in a year

  • Arson attack took place in early hours of Sunday morning in Chelmsford, Essex
  • Damage meant thousands working and learning from home did not have internet
  • Engineers are still on site and said the repairs may take several days to complete
  • Police have not ruled out the attacks were motivated by 5G conspiracy theories
  • This is the latest in a string of arson attacks on the high speed towers in the city 

Arsonists left thousands of families without internet in attacks feared to be inspired by 5G COVID conspiracy theories.

The vandals torched a 5G mobile mast and three broadband cabinets in Chelmsford, Essex, disrupting vital home-schooling and remote work.

Police are now hunting the thugs who could also be behind attacks on two other high-speed mobile internet towers in the town over the past year.

Police yesterday did not rule out conspiracy theorists could be behind the bizarre infrastructure attacks.

The fires follow the spread of social media myths since the start of the pandemic – with some believing the internet and 5G towers are responsible for the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

There is no evidence to support this and the Government has been forced to state ‘viruses cannot travel on radio waves or mobile networks’.

Arsonists left thousands of families without internet in attacks feared to be inspired by 5G Covid conspiracy theories in Chelmsford, Essex. Pictured: firefighters tackle the blaze

The attacks in Chelmsford hit a 5G tower near Princes Road and two broadband cabinets on Longstomps Avenue.

In the wake of the attacks, which are believed to have unfolded in the early hours of Sunday morning, 2,700 people were left without phone and internet connection.

Openreach engineers are currently working on the site to fix the wrecked equipment which could take ‘several days’.

Kevin Murphy, managing director of fibre network delivery at the firm said: ‘Our network in Chelmsford was attacked by arsonists in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving around 2,700 without phone and broadband services.

‘Attacks on our equipment are deeply concerning, especially considering so many people are relying on their broadband during lockdown to work, home school and stay connected with loved ones.

‘We know how frustrating this must be for those affected and we’ll be doing what we can to prioritise fixes for vulnerable customers and key local services.

Fire caused extensive damage to the wiring which meant families were left without internet

‘Our Security team is working with the relevant authorities to make sure that this incident is fully investigated and those responsible are held to account.’

The fire follows arson attacks on 5G towers in Chelmsford in April and August – with officers investigating all the attacks.

A spokesman for the police said: ‘We are investigating reports of a suspected arson at Longstomps Avenue, Chelmsford.

‘The fire is believed to have been started in the early hours of Sunday 31 January and has caused significant damage to Openreach telecommunications equipment, affecting thousands of residents in the area.

‘If anyone has any information, they are asked to call us on 101 quoting crime reference 42/18083/21 or to report it online at www.essex.police.uk.’

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