Charity bid to halt ‘dangerous’ surge in cable thefts

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A reward of £1,000 has been offered by a crime-fighting charity in a bid to tackle metal and cable theft in West Yorkshire.

Crimestoppers and Northern Powergrid, which distributes electricity across the North, are targeting theft hotspot areas with a digital campaign using Facebook and Twitter.

They hope to cut the number of incidents and make people aware of “dangers and disruption that can occur within communities when people attempt to steal items such as high voltage cables, earthing and other electrical equipment”.

Across Northern Powergrid’s network, there were 354 incidents of metal theft and vandalism between January and the end of July this year, 13 fewer than the same period in 2013.

But in Yorkshire and the Humber the number of incidents increased from 230 to 252 in the same period.

In April thieves stole more than 1,000 metres of live power cables near Knottingley. In another incident, homes around the town were left without power for 12 hours after cables carrying 11,000 volts of electricity were stolen.

And last week in Leeds, nearly 1,300 people in Garforth, Micklefield and Kippax were left without power after more than 600 metres of cables were stolen.

A reward of up to £1,000 is available for information passed to Crimestoppers’ 0800 555 111 number that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for this crime.

Gemma Wilson, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Manager for Crimestoppers, said: “What people don’t realise is metal and cable theft is incredibly dangerous and is a real threat to life – we don’t want to pick up the paper and hear of somebody dying as a result of a metal theft.

“The impact these incidents have on a community is huge.”