Man arrested for torching Groningen telecom mast


Police have arrested a 34-year-old man suspected of torching a telecom mast in Groningen on April 10, destroying it completely.

The arrest came after crime programme Opsporing Verzocht broadcast images of the event and viewers called in with information.

In total, 18 telecom masts have been targeted since April 3, with the latest attempt on Wednesday in Vlissingen. The attacks are thought to be connected to conspiracy theorists who believe the coronavirus pandemic was caused by the rollout of 5G services.

Police have received 25 tip offs about the fires following the broadcast and on Thursday the programme also showed images of two suspects who set fire to a mast on the roof of a car park in Amsterdam. It is not yet clear if the man, who was apprehended in Groningen, had anything to do with the arson attacks in other parts of the country.

Counter terrorism unit NCTV  has called the sabotage of the telecom masts ‘a worrying development’ because the telecoms network is essential to ensure the emergency services can be alerted and that hospitals and nursing homes can communicate.

The Netherlands does not currently have a 5G network, although some trials are underway.

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