‘Moronic’ thieves put people’s lives at risk in Keighley area

Mick Hickling, of Northern Powergrid, has condemned thieves for stealing power cables

Mick Hickling, of Northern Powergrid, has condemned thieves for stealing power cables

First published in News

‘Moronic’ thieves are putting lives at risk by stealing chunks of overhead power line.

More than half-a-mile of electricity-carrying copper cable has been taken in the latest Keighley district incidents.

Raiders struck at sites in Oakworth and Denholme, as well as at two locations in Oxenhope, within a five-day spell.

More than 90 properties temporarily lost power as a result of the incidents.

Northern Powergrid, the electricity distributor for Yorkshire and the North East, said the thieves were placing their own lives and those of others in jeopardy.

There have been 40 incidents of theft from the network across the whole region in recent weeks.

And in many cases, ends of cables carrying 11,000 volts have been left hanging over public roads and footpaths.

“The thieves are showing complete disregard for people’s safety to steal cable with relatively little financial value,” said Mick Hickling, for Northern Powergrid.

“But the cost of the repair is not our primary concern, it’s the significant risk to public life that worries us most of all.

“Our power lines are over public land and cross footpaths and roads, so the potential danger is significant.

“Engineers will always respond extremely quickly once they’re made aware of damage to the electricity network to make our equipment safe, but it could be a member of the public who comes across it first.”

Mr Hickling warns anybody finding damaged power lines not to touch any dangling cables and keep children, pets and livestock well away.

Anyone spotting suspicious activity near overhead cables is urged to immediately alert the company or contact the police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Crimestoppers regional manager, Gemma Wilson, said: “What these thieves don’t realise is they are not only putting the community in danger, but also themselves – so don’t let them get away with their actions.”

The Keighley-area incidents were at locations close to Slack Lane in Oakworth, Beech Drive in Denholme and at Long Causeway and Denholme Road in Oxenhope.

Northern Powergrid said last year saw more than 600 incidents of theft on the region’s network, averaging 12 a week, but the figure was 45 per cent down on 2012.

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