27 Oct 2022

Human interest Greater Manchester

Vandals cheat death cutting down 33,000-volt electricity lines

Mindless vandals have cheated death after taking chainsaws to powerful electrical assets.

The incident happened on Saturday morning in Atherton and despite making away with nothing, the culprits caused more than £60,000 worth of damage to the local electricity infrastructure.

Engineers from Electricity North West, who operate the region’s power network, say the vandals who committed the offence were lucky to be alive as they took chainsaws to wooden poles which carry lines operating at 33,000 volts.

Damage caused by the chainsaws included one severed wood pole, a snapped wood pole and powerlines drooping and falling to the ground which engineers say could have easily harmed the culprits or passers-by.

Damien Coyle, Electricity North West’s Transmission Operations Manager, said: “We were alerted by members of the public who saw that our equipment had been vandalised.

“They did absolutely the right thing, stayed well back and called us so that we could dispatch engineers to make the site safe and immediately carry out investigations.

“Fortunately, nobody was harmed or injured from what was a very serious and dangerous incident. These poles carry extremely powerful overhead lines and should not be interfered with.

“We have yellow danger of death signs around of all of our assets for a reason and it’s vital people take note and stay away.”

Frustratingly, the assets damaged were only upgraded six months ago by Electricity North West engineers.

Inspector Adam Wall of the Greater Manchester Police Wigan district, said; “This is of real concern to us and Electricity North West regarding the serious risks to safety that were posed and we are appealing for anyone who has any information that may help us in our investigation to call 0161 856 1602 quoting incident 984 of 22/10/22 to ensure we can keep our local communities safe.”

Electricity North West has asked for anyone with any information to contact the police. The network operator also reminded anyone who sees any damaged equipment to call them immediately for free on the power cut number, 105, so they make the site safe and can dispatch engineers to make repairs.