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09/09/13: New technology targets metal thieves in Nelson

Electricity North West engineer with copper marking sample

Thieves who target electricity substations to steal metal in Nelson, Lancashire should think twice thanks to new technology employed by Electricity North West.

Electricity North West, the company that owns and maintains the regional power network, has invested over £170,000 in a new metal marking process which will be trialled at more than 200 substations to help crack down on the costly crime.

The trial will take place across Nelson after recent figures highlighted an increase in metal theft in the area which has resulted in one crime happening every month for the past year.

Steve Cox, future network manager, said: “Attempting to steal parts of the electricity network is extremely dangerous. It can also result in customers losing power and cost tens of thousands of pounds to repair the damage.

“By marking metal with secure codes, we will help stamp out this antisocial crime by deterring would-be thieves, and help the police catch anyone who steals metal from the power network.”

The new marking technique will mark key information on metal used across Electricity North West’s network, which will then be held on a central database accessed by Greater Manchester Police. The process will help the power operator and the police identify any stolen metal by relating it back to the substation and the crime which will help convict thieves.

If successful the trial will be implemented across the North West.

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