Leeds & West Yorkshire

'Copper thief' hurt in Leeds explosion

A suspected copper thief is in hospital with serious burns after he was injured while apparently trying to cut electrical cables in Leeds with a saw.

Police said there was an explosion when cables carrying 11,000 volts at a bridge over the River Aire were cut.

The 25-year-old man was taken to hospital with burns to his face, hands and chest. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Police said he was lucky to be alive and his recovery would take months.

A spokesman warned would-be thieves about the dangers of targeting electrical cables for copper.

Det Insp Richard Partis said: "Medical opinion and that of the electricity firm is that this man is very lucky to be alive.

"This incident could very easily have resulted in his death and that of another man who was with him at the time.

"We believe they thought the cable was not live and contained copper that could be sold for scrap.

"This incident should demonstrate to people the risks they are taking targeting electrical cables in this way.

"There is no way of telling by sight if a cable is live or not and the risk of death or serious injury is obviously very high."

Engineers were immediately called out to the scene and made the damaged cable safe.

Police said no arrests had been made and inquiries were continuing. Witnesses have been urged to contact Mr Partis at Weetwood police station.

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