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28/08/2012: Police launch campaign to clampdown on electricity theft

Police in West Lancashire have launched a campaign to tackle electricity theft labelled “Operation Current”.

Last week officers along with staff from Electricity North West visited properties in the Tanhouse area of Skelmersdale to check on household meters.

This follows reports by the energy companies of large divergences between distributed substation electricity and local power usage and bills.

If access to a meter is unavailable, police can then use a thermal imaging camera from outside the property to check for any power inconsistencies and return with search warrants if necessary.

As part of the operation, a 51 year old woman, of Skelmersdale, was arrested on suspicion of electricity theft and has since been bailed as further enquires take place.

West Lancashire Inspector, Andy Willis, said: “It is only a very small minority who is believed to be hiving off electricity illegally, but such actions are totally unacceptable especially as it pushes up the bills for the law-abiding majority.

“We have started the operation in Tanhouse this week, but will be going across the borough to tackle this type of crime in the coming weeks with assistance from Electricity North West.

“There is also a safety issue here as a meter which has been fiddled with is at risk of exploding and creating a fire which can then quickly spread and cause deadly damage.”

“We are delighted to be working with Lancashire Constabulary to try and put a stop to this dishonest crime,” said Mark Williamson, south area operations manager for Electricity North West.

“People interfering with their electricity meters are not only putting themselves in danger, but it also means honest residents will have to cover the costs.

“If residents are struggling to pay their bills they should contact their electricity supplier who will be able to help.”

If you have any information about possible electricity theft in your area please call the police on 101 or Electricity North West's Revenue Protection Unit direct on 01772 848 229.

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