Stop risking lives

The site of the former Betafence works off Woodhouse Lane

The site of the former Betafence works off Woodhouse Lane

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WIGAN’S fire chief has issued a warning after thieves have again risked their lives to steal copper wire.

There has been a spate of these type of thefts across the borough in recent months, and in many cases both the thieves themselves and those who have to deal with the aftermath are at risk of serious injury or even death.

Wigan Borough Fire Commander Steve Sheridan is warning criminals to consider the consequences of their actions and not just think about making a quick buck.

The latest incident happened early yesterday at the former Betafence site on Woodhouse Lane, Beech Hill.

Crews were called to the site at about 5am to find copper cable had been stolen from inside the substation from one of the transformers causing oil to leak, which sparked the blaze.

Mr Sheridan said: “These thieves should be under no illusions about the danger they are putting themselves in when they commit these sorts of crimes.

“The chance that they could kill themselves is massive and not only that but there is a huge risk to those who have to respond to these fires as well.

“Thieves are putting themselves at a very significant risk for what sometimes amounts to very little both financially and physically.”

Crew Comm-ander Martin White, who attended the fire, said: “People need to realise that there is a very real chance that something will happen to them.

“Every time they do this they are putting numerous people at risk, not just themselves.”

At the site of the latest blaze, 6,600 volts go through the substation and just 240 is enough to kill someone, which is equivalent to what you would expect to find in a household.

Before the Wigan fire crew could tackle the blaze they had to call in an engineer from Electricity North West to isolate the power to the station and make it safe for them to put the fire out. They were at the site for about three hours.