The number of attacks on mobile phone masts has climbed to around 90 since the coronavirus lockdown began, the UK’s network trade body has revealed.
MobileUK said it has currently recorded 87 arson incidents against network towers across the country, but warned there might be a delay on information from over the bank holiday weekend.
It comes as Derbyshire Police appealed for witnesses after firefighters were called to a mast blaze off Scarborough Drive in the Chaddesden area of Derby at 2am on Sunday, following a string of cases in recent months.
“We believe the fire was started deliberately and we are investigating,” the force said.
Attacks against mobile masts have surged since March amid conspiracy theories linking 5G technology to the spread of Covid-19, a claim experts and scientists have called unproven, “baseless” and “utter rubbish”.
One attack reported in April was on a mast serving the Nightingale hospital in Birmingham.
“Theories being spread about 5G are baseless and are not grounded in credible scientific theory,” Mobile UK has repeatedly argued.
“Mobile operators are dedicated to keeping the UK connected, and careless talk could cause untold damage.
“Continuing attacks on mobile infrastructure risks lives and at this challenging time the UK’s critical sectors must be able to focus all their efforts fighting this pandemic.”
In April, This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes was issued guidance by media watchdog Ofcom after he made comments on TV relating to Covid-19 and 5G.