Kent metal thefts 'risk lives'

Thieves attempting to steal metal from electrical or telephone cables have been warned by Kent Police that they could be killed or seriously injured.

Officers issued the warning after a two-week crackdown saw eight arrests. Police also said metal theft was becoming a serious issue in Kent.

Supt Adrian Futers said many thieves were opportunists and would put the price of metal ahead of their safety.

He said many cables were live and thefts had already led to deaths.

'Hospital disruption'

Supt Futers said: "Due to the increasing price of metal in the world markets, we are aware that this is becoming a serious issue in Kent.

"Since the upturn in metal theft, a number of people have been killed and others seriously injured, particularly where trying to steal live electricity cable from electricity sub-stations or railway infrastructure."

He warned cable theft could also disrupt schools, hospitals, and frontline emergency services.

The eight arrests made this week included suspected thefts of cables at a Southern Water site in Snodland, a UK Power Network site in Ditton, and the telephone network in Paddock Wood.

One man was charged with criminal damage and another with attempted cable theft.

Two people were cautioned and four people were bailed pending further inquiries.

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