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02/11/2012: Substation burglars warned in police crackdown

Thieves, who target electricity substations to steal metal, are being warned as part of a police crackdown in Hyndburn.

In the last two weeks, around 30 of Electricity North West’s substations in Accrington, Great Harwood, Richton, Church and Oswaldtwistle have been broken into with thieves taking thousands of pounds of copper cabling.

An investigation is under way to find out who is responsible. Police patrols have been stepped up and officers have been speaking to local residents to encourage them to report anything suspicious.

Letters have been delivered to residents overlooking the sites and officers are examining CCTV footage to find out who is behind the thefts.

Two men, aged 22 and 23, have been arrested on suspicion of burglary. Both have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

PC Peter Norris said: “It is possible the people responsible are arriving at all times of the day and night and are likely to appear genuine, perhaps in vans with high-visibility jackets and trousers.

“We’ve had some reports of people’s power supply being affected and appeal to local residents to let us know if they experience any problems. People should be extra vigilant and report anything suspicious to us immediately.”

Lee Maxwell, area manager for Electricity North West, said: “We are working closely with Lancashire police to crackdown on this very serious crime.

“People breaking into our substations are not only putting themselves and others in great danger, but it causes thousands of pounds worth of damage and affects livelihoods and also vulnerable people, including the elderly, who may be left without power.

“These criminals know what they are doing, so we are urging people if you do hear or see anything suspicious please call so we can investigate.”

Anyone with information should call Electricity North West’s free emergency 24-hour number on 0800 195 4141, the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.

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