THIEVES put their lives in danger to steal £4,000 of copper cable from an 11,000-volt electricity substation in Knottingley.
Officers from Pontefract and Knottingley neighbourhood policing team (NPT) are investigating the theft at the site on Racca Green last Tuesday – which sparked £30,000 of damage.
Vandals broke into a neighbouring derelict building to gain access to the substation between midnight and 4pm.
Sgt Dan Tillet, of the NPT, said: “The burglary at a Racca Green substation resulted in the theft of over £4,000 of copper cabling, but the total loss to the complainant is estimated at £30,000.
“The cost to the thieves, however, could have been even greater as the substation was live with 11,000 volts passing through.
“The dangers associated with the theft of metal to the thieves, the victim and the public are real and serious, along with the unimaginable destruction and disruption that comes with it.
“The NPT is actively engaged in the pursuit of those that steal metal and are appealing for anyone with information regarding metal thefts or thieves to contact us.”
Officers from the NPT have been working with colleagues from the British Transport Police (BTP) to combat cable theft in the area, which has been branded a “hotspot” for the crime.
In July, thieves stole 35m of cable from the railway line close to England Lane – causing around £600 of damage and delaying 23 trains over 300 minutes.
Det Insp Mick Jackson, of the BTP’s Operation Leopard, which investigates cable thefts, said: “Tackling cable theft is a priority for BTP and we are prepared to do everything within our power to take action against anyone who steals from the railway.
“We will be out and about during the coming days, weeks and months, targeting known hotspot locations, and making life as difficult as possible for would-be thieves.
“My officers understand the misery caused by cable theft and will go to great lengths to deter thieves from targeting the railway.”
Witnesses or anyone with information should call police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.
They can also contact the NPT by emailing email@example.com or call 01977 601045.