NIE has issued a strong safety warning following a spate of damage to electricity equipment in the Broughshane and Glenarm areas over recent days.
There have been four separate incidents where poles have been sawed down in order to steal overhead electricity lines or electricity wire has been ripped off the side of homes.
The incidents happened overnight, cutting power to local residents and risking the serious injury of the perpetrators, passers-by or livestock.
Sam Gibson, NIE Asset Management, said, “Anyone interfering with electricity equipment is putting their lives at risk. They are also showing a complete disregard for the local community by leaving equipment in a dangerous state and leaving homes without power.”
“We are working closely with the PSNI to stamp out this type of practice and would encourage anyone in the local community who has information to come forward. This week we gave evidence at Stormont about the danger and disruption that metal theft can cause when criminals target utility services. We are keen to see tighter legislation in place to ensure that stolen metal is hard to sell – literally too hot to handle.”
Roy Beggs MLA, who is proposing a bill to combat this type of crime, said, “the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill in England and Wales has contributed to a significant reduction in metal theft as criminals discover the outlet for anonymous stolen metal has ended. Similar legislation in Northern Ireland would help reduce metal theft which as with these incidents causes great inconvenience and danger to the local community. I would urge the public to find out more about my Private Members Bill consultation on my website and add their support.”
NIE would urge anyone with any information about these thefts to contact the PSNI on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.