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Copper Theft at Substation in Hamilton Causes Damage - ScottishPower Warns of Danger

08/10/2009

Thieves who broke-in to an electricity substation in Hamilton over the weekend are being sought by the Police after their dangerous actions left a number of nearby households with damaged electrical equipment. ScottishPower has said that the thieves are lucky to be alive and are fortunate that their actions did not have more serious consequences.

The substation had its locks smashed and around 10 metres of copper wire removed. The copper provides essential earthing for the electricity network and is there to ensure the network remains safe. The theft resulted in a voltage fluctuation that caused damage to electrical equipment in the properties in Hillhouse Road.

ScottishPower engineers were on the scene quickly to carry out repairs at the substation and staff carried out door-to-door inspections at nearby properties to check for damage.

Over the last year the number of thefts at electricity substations has increased as the price of copper has gone up in value. However, ScottishPower say that thieves are putting their own lives on the line, as well as endangering the safety of the public and electricity workers. It is also thought that the re-sale value of the stolen copper could be as little as £50.

Commenting on the break-in, Frank Mitchell, Director of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “It beggars belief that anyone would put their own life at risk by tampering with thousands of volts of electricity in order to steal small amounts of copper that have a minimal scrap value. You don’t even need to come into direct contact with the equipment in a substation to receive a potentially fatal shock.

“The copper helps to ensure the network remains safe and those involved in carrying out this break-in have shown little regard for their own safety, the public and that of our employees.

"We are working closely with the Police to try and make sure those responsible are caught, and would encourage anyone who witnesses suspicious activity beside electricity equipment to report this to their local Police station or Crimestoppers."

Media Information: Paul Ferguson – 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924

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