Mobile mast destroyed over cancer fears

Northern Ireland Electricity has condemned an attack against a mobile phone base station that local people believe has caused a cluster of cancer cases

A 150-foot high mobile phone mast was attacked last weekend by local residents who believe the mast has caused several cases of cancer in the area.

The mast, located in the Cranlome area of Dungannon, Northern Ireland, was brought down on Saturday evening. Those responsible are thought to have broken through an electrified fence before using an angle grinder to sever its four legs.

Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), which owned the mast, has condemned the action -- which it claims has also endangered local electricity supplies.

"This facility identifies faults on the network and transmits information to NIE's control centre. It also allows NIE's engineers to communicate with each other by radio, which is vital when we have to deal with the sort of widespread damage a storm can bring," said NIE spokesman Robin Greer. "This damage will hamper the restoration of electricity supplies if there is any damage to the local electricity network in the coming months, and will delay the implementation of new network monitoring systems," Greer added.

As well as being used by five mobile phone operators, the mast also provided radio communications facilities for a range of services including the ambulance service, the water service and Dungannon Borough Council.

Local residents have been campaigning against the mast, claiming that several cancer cases have been caused by the electromagnetic radiation it emits.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the attack is thought to have been triggered by the death of a local man from cancer last week.

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