LONDON (Reuters) - Police in central England are hunting for a badly scorched would-be copper power cable thief after finding a hacksaw embedded in an 11,000 volt power cable on Saturday night.
The thief, who also left a lit blow torch at the scene, is expected to be badly charred, spiky haired and not exactly the brightest bulb in the socket.
“The sheer stupidity of cutting through power cables should be glaringly obvious to everyone,” said Phil Wilson, customer operations manager with local power company Central Networks.
“At the very least putting the hacksaw through the cable would have created an almighty bang and the line would have burned for quite a few seconds, showering them with molten copper... We can only assume they left in a great hurry or they were injured and were dragged away by an accomplice.”
But searches of local hospitals have so far not found the culprit, a spokeswoman for Derbyshire Police said on Tuesday.
“Maybe they had a lucky escape,” she said. “We don’t have any leads yet.”
Nearly 800 customers in the village of Creswell were cut off when the wannabe copper thief sawed into their power supply on Saturday night, but Central Networks got the lights back on within a few hours.
Copper prices have more than doubled in the last four years as China has gobbled up huge quantities of it, sparking a wave of copper thefts across the globe from South Africa and the United States to Italy and Britain.
Thieves targeting power lines and electricity substations have already led to two fatalities in Britain and many serious injuries, while leaving thousands without power.
Reporting by Daniel Fineren, editing by Paul Casciato