POLICE have branded it a ‘miracle’ no-one was killed when live electricity cables were left dangling from power pylons in Knottingley after thieves struck.
Around £15,000 of copper electric conductor cable – which can carry hundreds of volts per metre – was stolen from pylons at the rear of Crowder Chemicals, at the bottom of Common Lane.
Police believe the live cables could have been left trailing the ground, putting passers by at risk of electric shock, for up to seven weeks.
Insp Richard Sullivan, of Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team (NPT), said: “The theft of this cable could have resulted in serious injury as they were live. It’s a miracle no-one was injured.”
The theft was discovered on Sunday July 22, although inquiries from Northern Powergrid revealed a dog walker had spotted the trailing cables last Tuesday, but had not reported it.
Power supplies were not affected by the original theft, but 394 homes in Knottingley and Beal were without electricity while engineers made the cables safe and repaired the damage.
Around £3,000 of cable, which had been coiled up on the ground, was recovered, but around 1,500 metres of cable was taken. Police say the cable was old without security markings, but it would be easily identifiable as mains power cable, and they are working with local scrap metal dealers to see if anyone has tried selling the cable.
Insp Sullivan added: “My NPT will continue to target metal thieves and are working closely with partners and scrap metal dealers so as to reduce this type of crime that not only causes much disruption to the community but can also result in serious injury or loss of life.”
Nigel Walker, Northern Powergrid’s vulnerable assets manager, said: “Theft of metal from our power assets is an utterly foolhardy act that puts at risk the lives of not only the thieves but also the general public.
“We want everyone to know that metal theft is a mindless crime with dire consequences and Northern Powergrid is working closely with the police to combat the crime and to raise awareness among members of the public. If the public sees any suspicious activity, they should contact the police or Crimestoppers.”
The NPT is appealing for anyone with information about the theft to contact it on 01977 601045 or ring Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.