Cleveland Police and Northern Powergrid are appealing for information after an 11 thousand volt underground cable was cut during an attempt to steal metal on Clarence Road, in Port Clarence on Tuesday at around 6:45pm.
Officers believe that those responsible could have visible burn injuries which may be serious and significant and would like to hear from people who know anyone who has seen injuries of this nature over the last few days.
The attempted theft resulted in a power cut to 26 properties in the area, with engineers having to use a generator to provide supply as the cable was repaired. Thieves are being warned that they are ‘dicing with death’ by tampering with live cables and that the risk far outweighs any small benefits that they may think can be gleamed from such a crime.
Acting Inspector Tony Cross said: “People are playing Russian Roulette with their lives by cutting through live cables; it’s completely stupid and not worth the risk. Not only are the consequences high, it also causes disruption for innocent householders who have no access to vital electricity and problems for the electricity supplier who has to work hard to get things back on track.
“I would like to hear from anyone who has any information on the attempted theft to get in touch.”
Nigel Walker, Northern Powergrid’s Vulnerable Assets Manager, said: “This was a reckless and incredibly dangerous act. The cable was live and carrying 11,000 volts, so the person who dug it up to try and cut through is likely to have suffered at least some degree of injury.
“The damage also left several properties without power until our engineers arrived to carry out repairs. Metal theft is a serious issue for us, costing us millions of pounds each year, disrupting power supplies to thousands of our customers, and the damage caused often risks the safety of innocent people who might come across it before the emergency services or our engineers.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Acting Inspector Tony Cross on the non-emergency 101 number or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.