Gloucestershire

Gloucestershire copper thieves cause £250,000 damage

Thieves risking their lives to steal copper from power cables in Gloucestershire have caused £250,000 damage so far this year.

Seven pylons have been targeted in the Gloucester area since August.

At the weekend, thieves climbed an 80ft (24m) pylon in Frampton-On-Severn and cut the wires.

A potentially live wire was left draped across Frampton Youth Football Club's pitches, causing the cancellation of all games on Saturday.

Each power line can carry 33,000 volts.

Ian Palmer, secretary of Frampton Youth Football Club, said members were now being more vigilant.

Tony Glover, from the Energy Networks Association, said this kind of theft was on the increase across the UK.

He said sometimes the stolen metal had little value.

He added that the theft of a £5 brass valve could have resulted in about 30,000 litres of oil used for insulation going into the water table and on to roads, had it not been contained.

Victoria Blake from electricity provider Central Networks said the thieves were "dicing with death".

The organisation has offered a £10,000 reward for information about the crimes in Gloucestershire, she added.

The Energy Networks Association and Central Networks are working with the police to try to stop the thefts.

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