Search for farm cable thieves

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A gang of thieves who stole lengths of electricity cable from above a road in a picturesque Chorley village are being hunted.

The brazen raid has left one Brindle farmer still having to use a generator for his electricity supply almost a week after the incident.

Farmer Peter Lawrenson, of Walmsley Fold Farm, said: “They took all the cable from Top o’ th Lane down to the farm.

“On each telepole there are three cables and they took off all three. It shut off all the power. It’s still off – we’re using the generator for the electricity.

“It’s a bit of a surprise when you find your electricity cables gone. It was taken in the middle of the night.

“The electricity people said they’ve already caught one gang taking it. If they hadn’t brought up a generator it would have been a different kettle of fish,” said Mr Lawrenson.

Farming communities in Chorley are being urged to be vigilant as police step up night time patrols.

PC Mark Etheridge, who patrols the Chorley rural east area, warned of the serious consequences of such thefts. He said: “They could be putting people in harm’s way.

“It’s part of a national problem at then moment with the price of scrap metal. It’s a massive problem.”

He said: “At the moment we have an operation ongoing where we have patrols out at night in rural areas throughout Chorley - it’s been going on a couple of weeks so far.”

Phil Briggs, Electricity North West faults manager, said: “Thieves who steal overhead electricity lines are not only risking their lives, but are causing thousands of pounds of damage and causing inconvenience to customers. In this latest incident, around 400 metres of line was stolen in a very rural location. We sent engineers to the site immediately and restored power to the one affected customer by generator. I encourage anyone in rural areas to keep a close eye on their local electricity network, and if they see anything suspicious or their power goes off at any time, to call Electricity North West on 0800 195 4141 so we can investigate and contact the police.”

Brindle Parish Council has added a ‘Rural Watch’ alert page to its website.

Chorley Coun David Dickinson, who represents Brindle ward, said: “It’s making people aware of what’s going on hopefully.”

The page posts details of criminal and suspicious incidents.

As well as the theft from Walmsley Fold Farm, Brindle, overnight on July 19 and 20, another alert warned that a VW Transporter had been stolen overnight on July 17 and 18.

PC Etheridge praised the website. He said: “I think a lot of crime in rural areas goes unreported. I think it’s a good thing.”