Metal thieves strike close to M180 and M18 motorways

One of the transformer poles targeted (after the repair).
One of the transformer poles targeted (after the repair).

Northern Powergrid and Humberside Police are appealing to residents to remain vigilant after further thefts from the power network.

In six identical incidents, in the Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Brigg areas, pole mounted electricity transformers, each carrying 11,000 volts and weighing around 500kg, were stolen leaving nearby homes without power. The repair bill will run into tens of thousands of pounds.

The incidents took place between 1am on Monday June 3 and 3am on Monday June 10, close to the M180 and M18 motorways.

Northern Powergrid’s vulnerable assets manager, Nigel Walker said: “These high voltage transformers are heavy and supported high off the ground on wooden poles, so to remove them is a significant task.

“The criminals responsible will probably have used ladders or a hoist vehicle to reach each transformer and would have required specialist knowledge to remove it safely without electrocuting themselves. They would have been highly visible, so we ask anyone, particularly in the farming community, who saw anything suspicious to contact us or the police.

“It’s not just the cost of the repairs that concerns us. Our customers lose their electricity supplies as a result, and it endangers the lives of innocent people who might accidentally stumble across the damage left behind. We’re asking the public, especially people living in rural areas, to help us combat this anti-social and dangerous crime.

“If you saw anything, please contact us, the police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 where a reward of up to £1,000 is offered for information leading to a conviction.”

A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said: “These kind of incidents can result in significant disruption to the homes of people who live in the area as the loss of power means that they cannot do everyday things such as watching television, turning the light on or cooking a meal.

“Humberside Police often rely on people in our local communities to be the eyes and ears for us and report anything suspicious. Incidents such as this are when we ask those people to do just that. We need people to come forward and report suspicious activity.

“Thieves who target items such as this often travel in vans and target locations in the early hours of the morning so if you hear anything suspicious please call the police. We also need people to look out for the stolen items.

“In incidents such as these thieves may dispose of the property and then return the next day to collect it, so be on the look out. You can report any suspicious activity and criminal activity by calling police tel 101.”

On June 1, thieves stole 400 metres of overhead power lines near Brigg, leaving approximately 250 properties without electricity.