POWER supplies in the South East are being put at risk because of fly-tipping, according to UK Power Networks.
More than 150 electricity substation sites, which deliver essential power supplies across the South East, London and East of England, have been the target of illegal fly-tipping this year.
Since January around 52 cases have been reported in Sussex, Kent, and Surrey.
The incidents can put power supplies at risk by delaying access to vital equipment and endanger staff visiting the sites to carry out inspections, maintenance or repairs.
Large waste can also be climbed, making it tempting for children who might not understand the dangers of entering an electricity substation.
Engineers have found mattresses, fridges, ironing boards, sofas, desks, toasters, bottles, tree clippings, cans, building rubble, guttering, tyres and polystyrene inside vital substation enclosures. Occasionally broken glass and used needles are lurking among the rubbish.
In one case gas bottles were dumped outside a substation in Ashbrook Road, Hastings.
Cleaning up the rubbish has already cost UK Power Networks several thousand pounds this year.
Jim Nicholl, lead environmental adviser, said: “Fly-tipping can delay the reconnection of power supplies by blocking access to our essential electricity distribution equipment. It is also dirty, dangerous and can be harmful to our staff and the public. We are appealing to the public to help us by reporting any sightings of fly-tipping at the sites which bring power to their properties.” Anyone who sees fly-tipping at a substation should call 0845 601 4516.