Ribble Valley thieves steal 6,000m of live power lines

Rural power line theft scene Horse Hey, Chaigley
Image caption Thieves struck in Chaigley earlier this month

More than 6,000m (19,500ft) of electric cabling has been stolen in the past two months in rural Lancashire by thieves cutting overhead power lines.

Lancashire police have warned that the thieves have put themselves and members of the public at risk.

The thieves are targeting homes on low voltage energy supplies, climbing wooden electricity poles to snip the copper wiring.

The spate of thefts has taken place in the Ribble Valley.

Thieves have struck in Chatburn, Billington, Ribchester, Bashall Eaves and Chaigley.

A spokesman for Electricity North West said it was amazing nobody had been seriously injured.

'During the night'

"They have been shimmying up wooden poles to cut the live wires," said the spokesman.

"Because these are in rural areas it may only be one or two properties or the village pub that is affected."

He added: "These thefts often take place during the night and people might just think it is a glitch in the network."

Police patrols have been stepped up, with officers urging local residents to encourage them to report anything suspicious as part of Farmwatch - the scheme which allows police to alert farmers to any suspicious behaviour or recent crimes.

Police said the thieves, who are wearing high visibility jackets, give the impression they are working for Electricity North West.

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