CABLE thieves are putting their own lives at risk and putting households at risk without power.
That was the warning this week from police and Scottish Power after a spate of thefts in the Lanark area.
Among other incidents, thieves – said to be organised criminal gangs – stole 1000 metres of cable near Stonebyres Power Station on August 22, and 200 metres off Cleghorn Road around 1.30am on August 25.
The combined value of cable stolen in the last three weeks has been £10,000, but these two incidents left a total of 11 houses without power.
“Clearly the impact is financial to suppliers like Scottish Power, but it of great inconvenience to those who are suffering the loss of power,” said Community Safety Officer PC David Wesencraft.
And for some people, depending on equipment to let them stay at home rather than in hospital, the consquences could be more serious,
The thieves were also damaging farmers’ fencing which could affect livestock safety.
And they were putting their own lives at risk.
“Many of the cables are live and being cut without any care for their own safety,” said PC Wesencraft. “While they are live the cables are being coiled to be taken away.”
Scottish Power said that the thefts and power cuts could lead to accidents in the homes affected, and that power surges caused by thefts in the past had actually caused house fires.
Guy Jefferson, Distribution Network Director at SP Energy Networks, echoed PC Wesencroft’s comments.
“The recent thefts are deplorable,” said Guy.
“The criminals are showing a total disregard for the safety of the public.
“They are all too aware that their actions can result in power cuts and even house fires.
“The gangs are taking huge risks with their own lives.
“One wrong move in the vicinity of 11,000 volts of electricity can result in instant death.
“We are working closely with Police Scotland to catch those responsible, and we would also encourage residents to report any suspicious behaviour they see near our power lines.
“Our emergency phone line is open 24-hours a day, and we are happy to pay up to £5,000 for information that leads to a conviction.”
Police want to hear from anyone who sees anything suspicious, or who has information about the recent thefts.
Information can be given to the police on the 101 number or via Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111.