Cable theft leaves homes powerless

POWER CUT: The latest sub-station to be targetted by copper thieves in Hightown Road, causing power cuts that lasted for several hours.
POWER CUT: The latest sub-station to be targetted by copper thieves in Hightown Road, causing power cuts that lasted for several hours.

RESIDENTS were left without power for hours after thieves raided an electricity sub-station in Hightown Road on Wednesday.

It was the 11th raid on sub-stations in Spen in recent weeks, as thieves take advantage of soaring scrap metal prices to steal copper wire.

They broke a padlock off the door of the building in Hightown Road, but fled empty-handed and police believe they could have suffered burns after causing an ‘electricity arc’.

Spen police chief Insp Tim Holland said: “It would therefore be a very lucky person who came away from something like that without any sort of injury.

“While we would appeal for anyone with information on the attempted theft to contact us, we would also appeal for anyone who knows of someone who has suffered recent and mysterious burns or injuries to their hands or face, to call us.”

Residents were woken at around 3am by the sound of a police helicopter overhead. Carol Lockwood, 58, said: “It was hovering for about 15 to 20 minutes.

“We had a power cut then the electricity came back on before going off again at around 7.45am.

“The power was just coming and going all morning.”

Barry Mounsey said he could not get a hot shower or a cup of coffee on Wednesday morning.

He added: “My worry is for older people whose freezers would be affected and they would lose their foodstocks.”

Other residents near to the sub-station said they heard several ‘bangs’.

CE Electric UK, which distributes power throughout the north, has written to residents across Spen informing them of more than 36 metal thefts from the company since the start of the year.

The letter says: “Not only are these reckless thieves putting their own lives at risk, they are leaving hundreds of homes without power and causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.”

l If you have any information about the thefts contact the Spen NPT on 01924 295357 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.