Gardaí are asking people to be vigilant following an increase in the theft of phone lines from roadside locations across the midlands.

The advice was issued after gardaí and Eir noticed an upsurge in the theft of phone lines, particularly in rural locations in recent weeks. 

According to gardaí, phone line theft is taking place along roadsides, usually during the hours of darkness.

The thieves appear to be targeting phone lines for their copper content. 

In Laois and Offaly, gardaí said they have recorded 14 incidents of phone line theft in recent weeks.

They said the incidents were sporadic in nature across the division.

Meanwhile, gardai said the theft of copper cylinders and piping from vacant properties also seems to be on the rise.

They are advising people to secure any properties which are lying vacant.

Last weekend alone, copper cylinders were taken from seven vacant properties in Tullamore.

Gardaí are asking members of the public to be alert and report any suspicious activity to their local garda station.