Following a spate of dangerous thefts of overhead power cables, SP Energy Networks is offering a reward of £10,000 to anyone who can provide information that leads to the conviction of anyone involved.
Police in North and East Ayrshire have seen a significant increase in the theft of overhead cables from rural areas – more than 40 incidents have been recorded since November. In the main, these incidents are occurring during the early hours of the morning. Metal theft is a nationwide problem which can affect substations, overhead and underground lines. Overhead power lines have recently been the target of thieves.
Guy Jefferson, Network Operations Director at SP Energy Networks, said: "The nature of the recent thefts in Ayrshire is very concerning. The criminals are targeting mainly remote and rural locations and they are showing a staggering disregard for their own safety, the safety of the public, and that of our employees.
"Metal theft is not a victimless crime. These dangerous acts not only have the potential to cause serious injury, they can also have a serious impact on nearby homes and businesses. Thefts in Greenock and Kilbarchan last year resulted in a serious house fire and residents experiencing damaged household appliances and extended power cuts. We have already seen localised power cuts as a result of this spate of thefts.
"It quite simply beggars belief that anyone would put their life on the line by interfering with thousands of volts of electricity to steal small amounts of copper with a minimal scrap value. If the gangs persist with this reckless behaviour it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed.
"We continue to work closely with the Police, and we would ask any concerned residents who spot suspicious activity near to our electricity lines and equipment to report what they have seen. We are offering a reward of £10,000 to anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction against the criminals involved in these thefts."
PC Alan Robb said "These criminals are acting recklessly and are not only putting their own lives at risk, but the lives of others. These criminals are well organised and can often appear to be legitimate workers. If you have any concerns about persons working on overhead lines or at an electricity substation please report this to Police Scotland on 101.”
Notes to Editors:
SP Energy Networks can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0845 272 7999
ScottishPower Press Office: 0141 614 4660