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Theft Could Mean Stealing Your Life
The Lanarkshire division of Police Scotland have warned callous criminals, who have embarked on a spree of dangerous power line thefts this summer, that stealing could cost them their lives.
Since May, around 40 thefts have been recorded, causing power interruptions for more than 300 homes across Scotland.
"criminal gangs are out of control"
In Lanarkshire itself, there have been six thefts although that number has been dwarfed by the 20 which have been recorded in Ayrshire.
Guy Jefferson, distribution network director at ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “The criminal gangs are out of control, and it is only a matter of time before we see a fatality.
“In the last month we have seen one man taken to hospital with serious burns and it could easily have been even worse. One wrong move in the vicinity of 11,000 volts of electricity can result in instant death.
“What is more concerning is the total disregard that these gangs show for general members of the public. They are all too aware that their actions can result in power cuts and even house fires to nearby homes, but they couldn’t care less about the harm they cause.”
In 2013 a 43-year-old man died following an attempted theft from a pole mounted substation in Lanarkshire.
John McBride, National Policing lead for Metal Theft and Chief Superintendent at British Transport Police, added: “There is recklessness in the attacks we have seen recently on the power supply network and we have already witnessed offenders being badly injured.
“There is a wider public safety issue created when thieves leave the behind a dangerous scene for blue light responders or emergency electrical repair staff or members of the public who may discover the theft.
“There is also the effect that a power cut has on communities and industry.
“The police will work to secure the evidence to bring offenders before the courts.”