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04/08/2011: Work begins on damaged Cockermouth cable

Electricity North West engineers are carrying out preliminary investigations by the River Derwent in Cockermouth as part of plans to repair an underwater electricity cable damaged by criminals.

The thieves were attempting to steal metal when they cut through a pipe and hit an 11KV cable, resulting in the loss of power to around 1,400 families and businesses in the town in May.

Although engineers managed to restore supplies extremely quickly, the thieves caused extensive damage to the cable supplying power to the market town.

Jane Fleetwood, Electricity North West’s Response Manager, said: “These criminals inconvenienced families and businesses and caused extensive damage to our network.

“They not only put their own lives at risk, but also members of the public’s lives at risk for the sake of trying to steal a bit of scrap metal.”

Engineers are now carrying out ground sampling at the river to decide the route for the new cabling under the river.

Jane added: “We have around 43,000km of underground cables under roads, fields, motorways and rivers and criminals seem to be increasingly willing to take foolhardy risks to try and steal metal – regardless of the consequences.

“We continue to work closely with the police on thefts across our network and would urge anybody with any information to contact either ourselves or the police.”

The results of the sampling work will allow engineers to develop technical proposals for a permanent cable repair under the river.

The costs to replace the cabling damaged by the thieves will depend on the engineering option selected, but is expected to run into tens of thousands of pounds.

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