Thieves risk own lives by stealing power cables in Newport

PUBLISHED: 08:46 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 22:07 31 May 2010

A NUMBER of homes in Newport were plunged into darkness after brazen thieves risked their own lives by stealing electricity cables. More than 200 metres of overhead power cable, worth about £3000, was stolen from the village between 9.30pm and 11.45pm las

A NUMBER of homes in Newport were plunged into darkness after brazen thieves risked their own lives by stealing electricity cables.

More than 200 metres of overhead power cable, worth about £3000, was stolen from the village between 9.30pm and 11.45pm last Tuesday (January 5).

Officers from Saffron Walden Police Station believe that thieves used a ladder or hoist to reach the cable and cut it, causing about £2000 worth of damage to property owned by EDF Energy.

Power supplies to seven houses in Newport had to be cut off from 11pm to 6.20am the next morning while engineers from EDF repaired the damage in safety.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are committed to providing our customers with a safe and reliable electricity supply and we take incidents like this very seriously. Vandals and thieves risk injury and even death by tampering with our equipment.

"EDF Energy Networks is constantly working to stamp out such incidents. The police have been informed and we will always assist them with their investigations and support prosecutions, which can result in large fines or even prison sentences.

"We are stepping up patrols and increasing security measures at our sites, in order to combat these mindless acts.

"Metal theft is currently a global problem, driven by the rising price and high demand for metal across the world. Recent years have seen a sharp rise in the market price of some metals, and in particular copper and lead."

This latest incident follows a number of similar thefts across the district towards the end of last year including the theft of £1000 worth of cable from Duddenhoe End in November.

Insp Kevin Wakefield from Saffron Walden Police Station said this type of crime was "incredibly dangerous" for the thieves and the public and urged anyone who sees anything suspicious to call 999 immediately.

EDF is also calling for people to call the police if they see vandals damaging the electricity network. They added that anyone who spots an unauthorised entry into a substation should call the free substation watch hotline on 0800 587 3243.

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