Mid Ulster a major hotspot for copper thieves cutting down electic poles

Electricity outage.
Electricity outage.

The Mid-Ulster area has become a hotspot for metal thieves as NIE have reported that over half of all incidents in the last 12 months, occurred in Mid-Ulster.

There have been 16 incidents in the Mid Ulster area in the last 12 months where electricity poles have been chopped down and wire stolen. In total, there have been twenty nine incidents of this type across Northern Ireland.

This comes following the theft of copper wiring from two electricity poles in the Ardboe Road area of Cookstown sometime between midnight and 2am on February 28th.

Police are also investigating a separate incident in Moneymore where an electricity pole had been cut down in Hammond Street area of Moneymore on March 1st. These incidents follow the same pattern as previous events - they happen in the early hours of the morning and tend to target electricity lines that lead to small numbers of homes or farms.

Last Autumn, eight separate incidents occured where live electricity poles were brought down in and around the Cookstown area.

Sam Gibson, NIE Asset Knowledge Manager, said, “We are very concerned about the high number of incidents in this area. One incident near Moneymore brought lines down over a road which a passing car ran then into.

“These incidents are disruptive for local residents whose electricity supplies are cut off but more importantly extremely dangerous both for the perpetrators and for the local community who may unwittingly come across damaged equipment.

“We are working closely with the PSNI and our utility colleagues to try and prevent these incidents but we would also urge the local community to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity around the electricity network.”

Police would also stress the obvious dangers associated with this type of activity and would like to hear from anyone who noticed any suspicious activity in and around these area to contact them, quoting reference number 97710314, on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively information can be passed via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.