WIGAN will be at the forefront of a crackdown on dangerous metal theft due to a pioneering trial system to expose criminals.
A metal marking process will be used across the borough that will help authorities track down quantities of stolen metal.
Electricity North West - the company that owns and maintains the region’s power network - has invested more than £170,000 in the scheme to be trialled at 1,000 substations.
Steve Cox, network manager, said: “Attempting to steal parts of the electricity network is extremely dangerous.
“It can also result in customers losing power and costs thousands of pounds to repair the damage.
“By marking metal with secure codes, we will help stamp out this anti-social crime by deterring would-be thieves, and help the police catch anyone who steals metal from the power network.”
Wigan has been chosen as a trial area after recent figures revealed a 10 per cent increase of metal theft incidents in the area with 30 crimes taking place over the last 12 months.
In August 2011, electricity sub-stations were targeted nine times by desperate thieves with one on the site of the former Betafence factory, on Woodhouse Lane, hit twice.
Copper from the station was stolen, causing oil to leak which then triggered a blaze that required three fire crews to douse the flames.
Borough fire commander Steve Sheridan issued a stern warning about the dangers of metal theft around electricity substations.
He said: “These people committing metal theft crimes are not only putting themselves in danger but they are putting our firefighters at risk and also the general public too.”
If successful, the marking trial will be implemented across the North West.
For more information about the ENW scheme please visit www.enwl.co.uk