Four people have been convicted of stealing 169 solar batteries belonging to the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC), after an extensive investigation by a joint task force between the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) and the T&TEC Estate Police.

The lights were stolen from 43 poles along the Manzanilla Road.

Bryden Persad and Audho Ramadhar of Kernaham Village, Mayaro along with Dinesh Persad of Nariva Road, Manzanilla pleaded guilty to the offence of larceny by finding, while George Alleyne, also of Nariva Road, pleaded guilty to the charges of receiving, and larceny by finding.

On June 10, 169 Deka solar 12-volt batteries were reported by T&TEC Security Officers to the Mayaro Police Station as being stolen from along the Manzanilla Road.

The batteries powered solar LED streetlights along the “Manzanilla stretch” and were removed from 43 poles.

The lights were installed in 2018 to improve road safety by facilitating greater visibility for motorists at night.

T&TEC said the theft of the batteries compromised the safety of commuters and drivers on this heavily used road and increased the chances of vehicular accidents, which could lead to serious injury and/or loss of life.

Following enquiries by the task force created by the Senior Supt Joseph Chandool of the Eastern Division, several search warrants were executed and interviews conducted, following which instructions were given on September 5 to formally charge the four individuals.

They appeared virtually before Magistrate Ava Vandenburg-Bailey at the Mayaro Magistrates’ Court on September 6 and were fined.

If they fail to pay, they would serve three months of hard labour.

Dinesh Persad was also ordered to pay T&TEC the cost of one battery.

The task force comprised Mayaro CID/TF, the Eastern Division Special Operations Unit under Ag Sgt Niam Mohammed and T&TEC.

Insp Dean Richards, (Ag) Sgt Arnold Cambridge and Ag W.E Cpl Lauren John represented T&TEC, under Head of Security Harrilal Ramdewar.

In a release issued on Tuesday, T&TEC reminded members of the public that, pursuant to the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission Act, Chapter 54:70, it is a criminal offence to tamper with the Commission’s electricity installations.

The Commission said it will investigate any reports of tampering and/or theft and bring legal action against those found guilty.

It also warned the public against carrying out such acts, which can cause serious injury and the potential loss of life.

Citizens who are aware of illegal activities are asked to contact

T&TEC’s Security Department at 663-8832 ext 2388/ 2386.