SUSPECTED metal thiefs are targeting phone lines in rural areas of Cookstown and Magherafelt - leaving hundreds of homes without a functioning telephone service.
Police are investigating the incidents, which have taken place in secluded areas of Cookstown, Moneymore, Tobermore and Draperstown.
The damage was discovered last Friday after one resident, from the Maghera area, tried to use his house phone.
After reporting the problem to BT, he was told that a number of phone lines in the area had been maliciously damaged.
It is understood that wooden poles and cables were taken by those resposible.
SDLP MLA for the area Patsy McGlone says he has had a number of reports to his constituency office about the disruption caused.
“Aside from the disruption this vandalism is causing it is also putting lives in danger,” Mr McGlone told the MAIL.
“There are many vulnerable people in our community who rely on their phones to get their medicine or help.”
“I would urge people to keep an eye out for any type of suspicious activity near telephone poles and report to the police immediately if they see anything.”
A PSNI spokesperson said it was investigating the spate of vandalism.
“On Friday 31 May police were notified of the damage to cables in the Turnaface Road area of Cookstown, Letteran Road area of Moneymore, Draperstown Road area of Tobermore and Magherafelt Road area of Draperstown,” the spokesperson said.
“Officers in Cookstown are keen to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles in the area.”