Thefts put lives at risk

DESPERATE thieves put their lives at risk by targeting electricity sub-stations in Wigan... for the NINTH time in a month.

The latest incident was the second time the site of the old Betafence factory on Woodhouse Lane has been targeted.

Fire crews were called to the scene after the sub-station was set alight shortly after 11.15pm on Monday night.

It’s believed that copper from the station was targeted causing oil to leak which triggered the blaze.

Electricity North West, who operate numerous substations across Wigan, are now urging the public to help catch those involved.

Services manager Mark Williamson said: “The spate of recent vandalism and the theft of metal cables and components from electricity substations in Wigan is putting people at risk .

“We would like local residents to play their part in helping to combat this type of dangerous crime and help us catch those responsible.

“Those who try to steal electricity cables for their scrap metal value are not just risking a prison sentence, they are risking their lives given the danger involved in tampering with the electricity network.

“Metal theft is also a far from victimless crime. Although Electricity North West has a quick response team, which aim to repair any damage as quickly as possible, homes and businesses will inevitably lose their electricity supply for a short time while repairs are carried out.

“Interference with the equipment in substations can also lead to people suffering appliance damage in their homes. This can cause huge disruption and expense.

“If anyone sees someone acting suspiciously near a substation, they should try to note as much information as possible such as a description of the person, their vehicle details and registration number, and contact the police immediately.”

Wigan Borough Fire Commander Steve Sheridan also issued a firm warning about the dangers involved in such crimes.

He said: “These people are not only putting themselves in danger but they are putting our firefighters at risk and also the general public too.

“You can’t see electricity but its effects can be devastating; it can even set you on fire.

“I urge people to think about the consequences of their actions before putting so many people at risk of injury and even loss of life.”

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said that they attended the scene shortly after midnight when fire crews alerted them and confirmed they are investigating the incident.