Seven arrested for theft of copper wiring from telephone lines in Spain

Image of Guardia Civil arresting copper wire thieves. Credit: Guardia Civil

The Guardia Civil recovered a ton of copper from thieves who cut down telephone poles and stole the cables from the lines.


As reported in a statement from the Guardia Civil on Thursday, February 16, in the framework of operation ‘Zintat’, two very active criminal groups dedicated to the theft of telephone wiring cable have been broken up.

They were operating in the autonomous communities of Castilla-La Mancha, Madrid, and Castilla y Leon. According to sources from the force, seven people have been arrested as a result.

Four of them were detained in Segovia’s Cerezo de Abajo. They are the alleged perpetrators of more than a hundred thefts and another one is investigated as the receiver of the stolen goods.

Police officers searched a scrap metal yard in the town of San Fernando de Henares where they recovered a tonne of burnt copper believed to be from the thefts of the power lines, along with abundant documentation.

The operation began in January last year when the Guardia Civil detected an increase in the theft of telephone wiring that affected some 30 towns in the province of Guadalajara. As a result, the telephone service in the region was temporarily interrupted.

Continuing with their investigations, the officers detected two criminal groups based in the Community of Madrid, They were exclusively dedicated to committing this type of theft. It was also revealed that the members of these groups worked in a coordinated manner and were highly mobile geographically.

They committed several robberies a week in towns in the autonomous communities of Madrid, Castilla y Leon and Castilla-La Mancha. In addition, they had a network of receivers to whom they quickly delivered the goods for sale.

It was also discovered that in order to commit the robberies, the perpetrators acquired second-hand vehicles and vans which they abandoned after committing the robberies.

Four people were detained by the Guardia Civil in the Segovian town of Cerezo de Abajo when they were caught in the act of sawing down several telephone poles.

The second criminal group was smashed last January with the arrest of another three people, two in the Madrid town of Coslada, and one in Guadalajara.

They allegedly sawed down the telephone poles and once they were on the ground, the thieves cut the cables into 10-metre-long sections. These were subsequently burned in isolated parts of the countryside in order to remove the cable sheathing for sale on the illegal market.

As a result of this operation, more than 70 thefts committed in the province of Guadalajara have been solved. Around 35 other crimes have also been cleared up in the provinces of Madrid, Cuenca, Toledo, Segovia, Valladolid, Palencia and Zamora.

The operation was carried out by the Judicial Police Organic Unit of the Guardia Civil Command in Guadalajara and directed by the Court of Instruction No2 of Guadalajara. This operation is still open, and further crimes committed by these criminal groups cannot be ruled out.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at