Three men have been convicted in an East London court after stealing BT cable tagged with a new liquid marker from forensic technology outfit SmartWater.
This is the first conviction that BT has secured using the technology, which is already widely used in other sectors, such as rail infrastructure. SmartWater's solutions are understood to have a 100% conviction rate so far.
Thefts of copper wiring from BT have been on the increase due to high global metal prices and substantial black market demand in the Far East.
Last year the telco teamed up with SmartWater to tackle the problem, which frequently leaves homes and businesses without comms access.
The three crooks pleaded guilty to charges of theft after they were caught winching cable tagged with SmartWater from privately-owned land in Dagenham last summer.
Ringleader Kristopher Huckle received an 18 month prison sentence, while his two accomplices received a suspended prison sentence and community service order, and an electronic tagging order respectively.