Fiji Police have charged 44 men and a 19-year-old girl in connection with 15 telecom cable thefts and damage of optic cables in Ba area.
A police spokesman, Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri, has told FBC News the thefts occurred between March and May and have cost Telecom Fiji more than 45,000 US dollars.
He says the men whose ages range from 16 to 52 years have all been charged and appeared in court in the past month as the result of a joint operation between the Police, Telecom Fiji and the Fiji Sugar Corporation.
He said the other concern for Police in the western division is the increasing number of teenagers who have been apprehended with the youngest caught being a 16-year-old boy from Korovuto in Ba.
Inspector Sokomuri says altogether eight teenagers have been apprehended including a 19-year-old tertiary student.