Cable Theft- Lancashire Resident Left in the Dark

by Editor on June 24, 2012

In a recent visit to my local scrap metal dealer I was asked to show photo ID as well as giving my vehicle reg number. With the growing trend in cable thefts I think it will be a good thing when the handing over of cash for scrap metal is stopped. Payments could be made directly into the bank account of those registered with scrap metal dealers to help make things more difficult for metal thieves.

Thanks to Danielle from Grainger for this article and her advice to electricians:

Lancashire Resident Left in the Dark, Victims of Metal Thieves

With the worldwide foreclosure crisis having impacted the housing market across the globe, it hasn’t been uncommon to hear of thieves breaking into vacant homes and ripping out pipes, plumbing and anything else they can resell to make a quick buck or two. Yes, the scrap metal business is still popular – especially among thieves – but now a new, even more dangerous trend is emerging within this field: thieves are beginning to steal electrical cable.

That’s correct – electrical cable. Thieves have targeted copper from pipes and tubing (it’s estimated that damage from such can amount to about $1 billion each year) for years, but now their larcenous gaze has turned to cable from power lines to sell as scrap metal. In fact, about 1.5 kilometers  was stolen in the Lancashire area earlier this year, putting several households without power. Market price for electric wiring and cables isn’t cheap, and crafty thieves have found a profit in pulling the cables from still-occupied houses and selling it to buyers looking for discount wares.

It appears that criminals are becoming even more desperate to find parts they can salvage for scrap metal; stealing electricity wire from outdoor lines not only makes them more susceptible to being caught (they’re doing this outdoors, after all), but also puts them in severe danger as well. Just think, if you make one wrong snip with your pliers, you could be toast. Such was the case in the death of a contractor in 2006, when he was electrocuted trying to pull off the act.

And that’s what brings us to how this could affect you, the electrician. While electrical wire theft is on the rise, overall, common sense tells us that these thieves have to possess some type of electrical know-how in order to successfully pull off such a crime. As an electrician, you should be as knowledgeable about wiring and working with wiring as you should be about advising your customers on ways to prevent wire theft from happening to them, especially if you know that it’s been done to them before. Learn enough about wire theft that you can discourage everyone you meet from going down that road.

For instance, while theft can occur inside the home, thieves are taking to the rural areas of the country to snag power lines for a larger paycheck. Notify your customers of that trend. Secondly, if you’re working on a business that’s had a problem with this theft in the past, advise them to install security cameras and post “No Trespassing” signs to prevent lurkers from entering the property and stealing the valuable wiring after hours. Showing off your expertise on areas of the industry beyond just working and dealing with wires from a technical standpoint can demonstrate your knowledge of the industry, while also impressing your customers.

The severity of electrical wire theft, especially when it involves power lines, can cause thousands of dollars of damage to the power grid of a certain area, while also keeping residents without the electricity that is so crucial to everyday life. As an electrician, you can offer your expertise in how to better avoid such unfortunate circumstances, whether you’re dealing with a household, business or a region. Taking a stand against such crimes will also portray you, on both a personal and business level, in a positive light. Electrical wire theft is a serious issue. But like many other serious issues – before they can be reduced or eliminated altogether, people first need to understand the impact and solutions to minimize the risk to it.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Charlotte December 4, 2012 at 11:46

What an awful story, I live in Lancashire and its awful reading things like this.

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