By Kirsty Topping
METAL thieves are going to extraordinary new lengths to make money – by stealing copper wire from live lamp posts.
Almost 40 lamp posts have been targeted in Scotland in the past fortnight, costing of 40,000 to repair, and putting the thieves themselves at risk of electrocution.
Several areas of Midlothian have been targeted,resulting in copper wire worth 20,000 being stolen and a further 20,000 of damage caused.
Thieves are thought to strike at night as no one has noticed the thefts taking place, despite the lights going out.
Those responsible are thought to be using heavy machinery to rip away the base of the lights.
Scottish Power confirmed that the theft of wiring from electrical substations and overhead power lines was on the increase.
A spokesman said:
“Anyone who tries to steal copper wiring from live electrical equipment is showing a staggering disregard for their own safety.
“It beggars belief that anyone would put their life on the line by interfering with live electricity to steal small amounts of copper. “
Lothian and Borders Police are investigating the string of incidents and the local council has asked people to remain vigilant.
Councillor Wilma Chalmers said:
“Those responsible are not only committing a serious crime but handling cables is highly dangerous. “
Police have appealed for information to catch the culprits.
A spokesman said: The damage to these lights not only carries a financial implication, but it has resulted in poorly lit areas, which in turn can be a safety concern. Anyone who can assist us in identifying those responsible is asked to contact police immediately. “
Metal thefts have soared in the past year with lead from church roofs and even garden furniture among the objects stolen.