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Substation criminals thwarted by CCTV

Criminals were thwarted at an electricity substation in Northfleet after being caught red-handed on CCTV

From Press releases - 25 February 2014 12:00 AM

Criminals were thwarted at an electricity substation in Northfleet after being caught red-handed on CCTV.
 
Illegal intruders struck at UK Power Networks’ substation on Sunday (February 23), but fled after security staff monitoring the on-site cameras spotted the trespassers and contacted police. Officers arrived to find the culprits had run off after the intruders were warned by security staff, via a public address system, to identify themselves or police would be called.
 
Sections of copper were cut and abandoned near a perimeter fence, ready to be removed. The damaged equipment included earthing which is essential for the safety of electrical equipment. It is believed the vast majority of the metal which was targeted on Sunday was recovered after the thieves were disturbed.
 
However, some pipework and metal earthing was stolen in an earlier break-in at the same site on February 15.
 
UK Power Networks, which owns and operates Kent’s electricity network, repeatedly warns vandals and thieves they are dicing with death by tampering with equipment at live electricity substations. The company urges the public to look out for suspicious activity at such sites and contact the police if in doubt.
 
Colin Barden, the company’s Head of Network Operations in the South East, said: “Thankfully nobody was hurt this time and their reckless actions did not result in any power cuts. Nevertheless, they caused significant damage and risk at a time when our dedicated teams were busy ensuring the continued reliability and safety of power supplies following storm damage. Emergency repairs were needed to make the network safe and reliable again.”
 
The electricity company has stepped up security patrols in the area and extra security measures have been installed at the site in response to the incidents. The firm continues to work closely with Kent Police and will press for the prosecution of anyone caught tampering with equipment.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police has a zero-tolerance attitude towards theft or burglary of any kind. Moreover, trespassing into live electricity substations is extremely dangerous. We would urge the public to report any suspicious behaviour to us on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress or life is in danger.”

Power lines and electricity substations, like the one in Northfleet, are vital to keep power flowing to the community. Anyone spotting criminals tampering with such equipment is urged to call police in the first instance and UK Power Networks on 0800 587 3243, so the site can be made safe and secure.