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20/10/11: £1m substation security investment to combat metal theft

Electricity North West is investing more than £1 million to increase security at its electricity substations across the region, to combat the increasing number of attempted metal thefts which can often result in interruptions to the power supply to homes and businesses.

Metal theft has become an increasingly common crime due to the rising value of many scrap metals and has led to the assets operated by companies in the rail, telecoms and utilities sectors being targeted by thieves.

In a bid to combat metal theft, Electricity North West carried out a comprehensive risk and security assessment across its substation network over six months, which involved assistance and intelligence from local police forces.

The investment in enhanced security is being made at priority sites highlighted by the assessment, including those where previous attempted thefts have taken place.

The range of measures includes clearing substation sites of overgrown trees and bushes to improve visibility, so that anyone entering a substation or acting suspiciously near it can be seen more easily. Electric fencing and sophisticated alarm systems will also be installed.

Electricity North West is also rolling out a DNA marking system which allows the  company to track stolen metal products and cables.

The new security measures will all be in place early next year and the company will continue to work in partnership with local police forces throughout the region to crack down on metal thefts.

Eddie Hamilton of Electricity North West, said: “We have already warned about the dangers of attempting to steal live electric cables and we are also committed to preventing it having an impact on our customers.

"Electricity North West has a quick response team that repairs damage resulting from theft or vandalism as quickly as possible but this investment will enable us to further secure some of the most vulnerable sites, and maintain power to homes and businesses across the region.”

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