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Police are appealing for witnesses after an attempt to steal high value cable was reported in North End Avenue in Portsmouth.
Investigations with BT have established that a drain cover was removed and water drained to locate the cabling.
There were signs the cabling had been cut in preparation to be removed at another time.
Police were called by BT after the company received a number of alarm activations in the area on Wednesday morning (March 20).
It's thought at least two men wearing high-visibility fluorescent jackets were seen working on the drains in North End Avenue.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Fratton Police Station by phoning 101.