A FOOLHARDY thief could have been killed after stealing copper wire from an 11,000 volt electricity pole in Sedlescombe.
Sometime on August 18, some copper earthing wire was taken from the pole in Beech Farm Road.
The earthing was located close to high voltage cables and UK Power Networks, which owns the cables, says the theft could have led to a member of the public being seriously injured.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Metal theft is currently a global problem, driven by the rising price and high demand for metal across the world.
“On August 18 an incident involving the theft of earthing close to UK Power Networks high voltage electricity cables, in Sedlescombe, could have led to a member of the public being seriously injured.
“Fortunately this dangerous act didn’t result in a loss of electricity supplies to customers in the area.
“Safety is of paramount importance to UK Power Networks and we would like to warn that anyone tampering with our equipment, other than our own trained engineers, is risking their lives and the lives of others.
“Our biggest concern is that thieves risk being electrocuted.
“We occasionally find that electrical equipment is a target for thieves and vandals. UK Power Networks takes incidents like this very seriously.
“Please report any suspicious activity around our equipment to police or our special hotline on 0800 587 3243.
“The police have been informed about this incident and are investigating the circumstances.
“UK Power Networks will press for the prosecution of anyone caught tampering with its network.
“National work is being carried out by the police to understand the extent of the crime across the UK.”
Although cable thefts have been reported across the UK, Battle police say such an incident is rare in rural Rother, but there are still occasional metal thefts in the area.
PC Jayne Cleverley said: “We still get the odd drain cover going and the odd bit of copper going, but it is sporadic.”
Speaking about the cable theft, PC Cleverley said: “This is an extremely dangerous theft.
“If you see anyone or anything suspicious, especially to do with electricity poles or British Telecom stations, please call 999.”