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Huge spike in metal theft 'risking lives' across Cheshire and Merseyside

27/09/2016

£10,000 reward after dozens of electricity substations targeted

Metal thefts from electricity substations in the Cheshire and Merseyside area have risen by a staggering 600% this Summer, new figures released today [Tuesday, 27 September] by ScottishPower Energy Networks reveal.

A spate of incidents recorded across the area has resulted in the company now offering a reward of £10,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible.

Huge spike in metal theft 'risking lives' across Cheshire and Merseyside

Over 250 different thefts have occurred in Cheshire and Merseyside this year with 68 recorded in August alone – this compares with just one single incident recorded in August 2015 and just 27 over the 2015 Summer period (May-Aug). The company describes the rise as among its ‘worst ever’.

The ScottishPower substations which have been targeted have been mainly in residential areas in North and South Liverpool, St Helens, Warrington, Widnes, Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port areas.

Unauthorised access to substations can often result in power loss to communities, cause fires and result in serious electric shocks to those responsible. Unsecure substations can also be extremely dangerous to children who may be playing nearby and risk serious injury or loss of life if they enter.

Andrew Lloyd, SP Energy Networks District Manager for the area, said: “This is not a victimless crime and there’s a serious threat to the public as a result. Unsecure substations can be extremely dangerous to anyone who enters them. These substations are in residential areas and those behind these thefts clearly don’t care about the consequences. Our biggest fear is that children out playing wander in.

“Metal theft is also one of the biggest threats to the safety of the electricity network, and the impact of these crimes can be devastating.

“As well as major power cuts that have inconvenienced thousands of families, we have experienced house fires and damaged electrical appliances in homes following haphazard thefts of our cables.

“Unfortunately it seems like the thieves don’t care about the risk to their own lives, and they certainly show no regard for the safety of neighbouring properties.”

Huge spike in metal theft - £10,000 reward after dozens of electricity substations targeted

Chief Inspector Richard Rees from Cheshire Police said: “Criminals who commit metal theft not only risk their own lives, but also the lives of in innocent members of the public. They also put at risk the lives of members of the emergency services who are left to deal with the repercussions of such crimes.

“Metal theft from electricity substations also has a major impact on our local communities, not only can they result in power cuts, but in the long term it also leads to increased utility bills for innocent members of the public.

“I’d appeal to anyone with any information in relation to metal theft and thefts from substations to contact Cheshire Police on 101 so that we can ensure the people responsible are brought to justice.”

SPEN is encouraging anyone who can provide information on the recent spate of thefts to either contact the Police through the national 101 telephone number or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or to call the company’s 24-hour hotline on 0800 092 9290.

The company are willing to pay £10,000 to anyone who provides information which eventually leads to the conviction of any of those responsible for the incidents of theft.

SPEN supplies around 800,000 customers in the Merseyside and Cheshire area utilising some 5,700 substations, 20,000km underground cables and 3000km overground lines.


For more information please contact Stephanie Todd on 0142 614 4583 or at s.todd@scottishpower.com


Notes to Editors:

Metal thefts from electricity substations in Cheshire and Merseyside area have risen by a staggering 600% this summer

ScottishPower Energy Networks owns and operates the electricity transmission and distribution network in Central & Southern Scotland and the distribution network in Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales. As the network operator it maintains and repairs the electrical equipment and network assets that transport electricity to around 3.5 million homes and businesses.

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