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Metal thieves target electricity substations across Sussex
Thieves are putting their lives at risk for just hundreds of pounds by climbing onto electricity substations to steal metal.
In just three days last week about £11,000 of damage was caused after 13 substations were raided in Mid Sussex. Substations in that district have been targeted 30 times since the start of the year.
Police and electricity bosses last night warned that the thieves were putting their lives on the line for metal worth less than £800 a time.
The thefts are happening overnight and have been discovered by workmen called out after residents have lost power to their homes.
Since January about £24,000 of repairs have had to be carried out because of the raids on substations in Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead.
Richard Powell died in October 2011 after he climbed onto a substation in Brighton and was struck by a bolt of electricity PC Nicky Thompson said: “Thieves are risking their lives in entering these substations to steal copper from cabling, causing disruption to local residents’ energy supplies.
“The cost of the copper is not expensive but the cost of repair to each of the substations is about £800.
"I would urge anyone who sees any suspicious activity especially at smaller substations or green boxes at the roadside or in people's back gardens to contact us urgently.”
A UK Power Networks spokeswoman said: “We are working with Sussex Police to investigate a number of reported instances of metal theft.
“We are committed to providing a safe, reliable electricity service and stress that anyone who tampers with our electrical equipment is risking their lives and those of others.
“We are constantly working to stamp out such incidents, particularly because the risks can be horrendous, resulting in severe burns and the loss of life.”
Anyone who has information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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