UK cell towers torched after bizarre conspiracy theory links 5G to coronavirus pandemic

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Cell towers in the U.K. have reportedly been set on fire in the wake of a bizarre conspiracy theory that links 5G communications technology to the coronavirus pandemic.

The BBC reported that videos purportedly showing cellphone towers on fire were posted online claiming a link between 5G technology and the COVID-19 crisis. Incidents involving fires in Birmingham and Liverpool are being investigated, according to the BBC.

Firefighters responded to a fire at a 70-foot mast in Birmingham on Thursday, the Birmingham Mail reported, noting that several videos claiming to show masts on fire were posted to a Facebook page. The page has now been taken down by Facebook, it said.

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Emergency services were called to a burning mast in Aintree near Liverpool on Friday, according to the Liverpool Echo. Another 5G tower was also set ablaze in south Liverpool, the Liverpool Echo reported.

A mobile phone mast on January 18, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom - file photo.

A mobile phone mast on January 18, 2020 in Cardiff, United Kingdom - file photo. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Authorities in the U.K. have been working to dispel the conspiracy theory linking 5G and coronavirus.

“We are aware of inaccurate information being shared online about 5G,” tweeted the U.K.’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport on Friday. “There is absolutely no credible evidence of a link between 5G and coronavirus.”

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Mobile UK, which represents the U.K.’s mobile network operators, blasted the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theories. “During this challenging situation, it is concerning that groups are using the #COVID19 pandemic to spread baseless theories about the safety of #5G,” it tweeted. “These are not grounded in accepted scientific theory.”

“More worryingly some people are also abusing our key workers and making threats to damage infrastructure under the pretense of claims about 5G,” it said in a statement. “This is not acceptable and only impacts on our ability as an industry to maintain the resilience and operational capacity of the networks to support mass home working and critical connectivity to the emergency services, vulnerable consumers and hospitals.”

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As of Saturday afternoon, at least 1,170,159 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 42,441 of which are in the U.K. The disease has accounted for at least 63,832 deaths around the world, including at least 4,313 people in the U.K.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers