Shocking theft puts lives at risk in Blanefield

Blanefield. Overhead power lines stolen.
Blanefield. Overhead power lines stolen.

Thieves risked their own lives, and those of nearby residents, to steal live electricity cables from overhead power lines near Blanefield.

The brazen crooks cut through barbed wire to get into a field near Blanefield in the early hours of Wednesday morning and then climbed up the poles to take the cables.

Four properties in the East Ballewan area were left without power for several hours.

However ScottishPower installed a generator and power was restored to all the properties by 12.30pm the same day.

The power lines can carry up to 11,000 volts of electricity, so as well as putting nearby properties at risk the reckless thieves were dicing with death.

ScottishPower is working closely with the police to catch those responsible.

They are offering rewards of up to £10,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the conviction of the people involved.

Since the start of May around 35 theft incidents have been recorded in Scotland, causing power interruptions for more than 300 homes.

Guy Jefferson, Distribution Network Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “The criminal gangs are out of control, and it’s only a matter of time before we see a fatality.

“One man has already been 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.

“These gangs show total disregard 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.

“We are working closely with Police Scotland, with a number of positive leads being investigated.

“We would also encourage residents to report any suspicious behaviour they see near our power lines.”

John McBride National Policing lead for Metal Theft and Chief Superintendent at British Transport Police said: “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.”

If you have any information call the company’s 24 hour hotline on 0800 092 9290.