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Birmingham mast hit by fire after fake Covid-19 claims, was not 5G pole - EE confirms

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 06/04/2020 Carl Jackson
a tall building in a dark cloudy sky: The fire damaged mast in Spring Road, Tyseley © Birmingham Live The fire damaged mast in Spring Road, Tyseley

The EE phone mast in Tyseley - thought to have been torched after fake claims coronavirus is linked to 5G - was not even a 5G structure.

Birmingham Live can confirm that the 70ft mast on Spring Road, which went up in flames on Thursday night, was only providing coverage up to 4G.

EE stated the monopole served thousands of Brummies and that the damage caused was significant.

It comes as the mobile operator, alongside others, has spoken out to dispel the 'harmful' claims purporting the theory that 5G is causing the Covid-19 pandemic.

a tree in front of a building: The building next to the phone mast on Spring Road was unaffected by the fire © Birmingham Live The building next to the phone mast on Spring Road was unaffected by the fire

They also revealed that engineers are now being abused.

Regarding the Tyseley mast, EE said: "Our engineers are assessing the cause of the fire at one of our towers in Birmingham. If it transpires that it was arson, which looks likely at this time, then we will work to help West Midlands Police identify a culprit.   

"To deliberately take away mobile connectivity at a time when people need more than ever to stay connected to each other is a reckless, harmful and dangerous thing to do.

a blurry photo of a fire: West Midlands Fire Service said the mast was 'well alight' when they arrived © Birmingham Live West Midlands Fire Service said the mast was 'well alight' when they arrived

"This site served thousands of people in the Birmingham area, providing vital 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity as it has done for many years. We will try to restore full coverage as quickly as possible, but the damage caused by the fire is significant."

West Midlands Fire Service is still yet to confirm whether the fire was deliberate.

Multiple masts have been targeted throughout the country in the last few days, including a structure in Liverpool.

The attacks have prompted a number of bodies and figures to dismiss the spurious idea that Covid-19 is linked to 5G, including the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which issued a warning about 'crackpot conspiracy theories circulating online'.

While high profile celebrities such as Calum Best and Amir Khan have also been criticised for adding their voices to the claims.

a tower that has a sign on a pole: The fire-damaged phone mast in Spring Road in Tyseley © Birmingham Live The fire-damaged phone mast in Spring Road in Tyseley

Mobile phone operators EE, 02, Three and Vodafone have also shared a joint statement on the issue.

It said: "Our networks provide essential connectivity to our emergency services and the NHS; they enable families to check in on their isolated or vulnerable loved ones; parents to teach their children from home; and millions to be informed and entertained as they stay at home.

"We are 100 per cent focused on making sure the UK's mobile and broadband networks are resilient, ensuring you, your families and businesses, can keep connected when you need it most.

"Sadly, we have experienced cases of vandals setting fire to masts, disrupting critical infrastructure and spreading false information suggesting a connection between 5G and the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus. Fact.

"Stopping this is critical to keeping your communities connected. Not only are these claims baseless, they are harmful for the people and the businesses that rely on the continuity of our services. They have also led to the abuse of our engineers and, in some cases, prevented essential network maintenance taking place.

"Please help us to make this stop. If you witness abuse of our key workers please report it. If you see misinformation, please call it out. Your help will make a real difference. Thank you for your support as we work together to keep our nation connected."

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