A suspected theft attempt at an electricity substation in Widnes yesterday (5th May) caused a major fire and resulted in power being cut-off to more than 100 properties. The incident was reported in Moorfield Road at 11.30am, with all supplies restored by 8pm.
The actions of the criminals put nearby homes at risk. In the worst cases substation thefts can cause house fires, as happened in Greenock, Scotland, following a botched theft attempt in November 2013.
SP Energy Networks has slammed the criminals responsible, and has issued a renewed warning following an increase in dangerous substation thefts across Merseyside and the North West. Approximately 20 separate incidents have been recorded in the region since the start of April. Locations targeted include Heswall, Bebington, Garston , Ainsdale and Aigburth.
The power company is working closely with the Police to catch those responsible, and a reward of up to £10,000 will be paid to anyone who provides information that leads to a conviction.
Stephen Stewart, Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “The criminals involved in these kind of thefts are risking the safety and wellbeing of local residents. Their irresponsible actions show a total disregard for members of the public. They are all too aware that tampering with electrical equipment can result in power cuts and could even cause house fires in nearby homes, but they couldn’t care less about the harm and disruption they cause.
“We are working closely with the Police to catch those responsible, and we would encourage any residents to report any suspicious behaviour they see near our substations. Our emergency phone line is open 24-hours a day, and we are happy to pay up to £10,000 for information that leads to a conviction.”
Anyone who can provide information on the recent spate of incidents is being encouraged to either contact the Police, or to call SP Energy Networks’ 24 hour hotline on 0800 001 5400 from a landline or 0330 1010 400 from a mobile.