Wrexham copper thieves dicing with death

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

THIEVES are risking their lives in raids on 11,000 voltage electricity sub-stations.

An engineer believes it is only a matter of time before workers find a dead body at one of the sites on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

It is thought a gang have been working to steal copper from the sub-stations to sell on for scrap.

Now ScottishPower, which runs all the sub-station across the industrial estate, is offering a cash reward for information about the crimes.

Project engineer Ian Davies, who works for ScottishPower, said: “The dangers are huge, a person could easily get electrocuted.

“How they haven’t been killed there I don’t know. They are also putting us at risk when we have to go in and fix a sub-station.”

The power company is working closely with the police to target the culprits and believe the raids are the work of a gang rather than one person.

A ScottishPower spokesman said: “They have little knowledge of the equipment they are targeting or the danger it presents for themselves and others.

“Metal theft is on the rise throughout Britain and energy companies are working with the police to track down the gangs and individuals responsible.”

Frank Mitchell, director of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “These criminals clearly have no idea what they are doing or how dangerous this equipment is.

“They are showing flagrant disregard for their own safety, the safety of the public, and that of our employees.

“It is important all our equipment is in service to ensure we can maintain a good quality of electricity supply to all of our customers.

“These dangerous acts not only have the potential to cause serious injury but could also result in widespread loss of electricity supply to homes and businesses in the Wrexham area.

“It quite simply beggars belief that anyone would put their own life at risk by interfering with thousands of volts of electricity in order to steal small amounts of copper that have minimal scrap value.

“ScottishPower is willing to pay a reward to anyone who provides credible information to help us bring charges against those involved with the thefts at Wrexham Industrial Estate.”

Insp Paul Jones, of Wrexham North policing division, said: “Metal has a value which fluctuates and when metal goes up we see an increase in thefts.

“Going into a sub-station like this is dangerous and we are investigating it.

“It is great that Scottish Power is offering a reward. Anything that can be done to lead to the arrest of those responsible is a good thing.”

Anyone with information should call a confidential hotline on 0800 027 1950.

See full story in the Leader

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