In the Media

Man with severe burns suspected of metal theft

PUBLISHED November 12, 2011

Man left with electrocution-type injuries after thieves allegedly target an electricity substation in the West Midlands A man is fighting for his life in hospital with severe burns believed to have been sustained as thieves allegedly tried to steal metal from an electricity substation. The man was admitted to hospital after an explosion at a substation in Oldbury, West Midlands, at 3.15am on Saturday. The electrical blast on the Granada industrial estate, which disrupted local power supplies, happened after significant quantities of metal, including copper wiring, had been cut from the substation. The accident came as police issued a warning that public safety was being put at risk by metal thieves who are compromising the emergency services by stealing valuable copper cabling for its scrap value. Coastguard communications along the Solent were lost over a 36-hour period after thieves stole metal cable, disrupting its aerial signals. Lighting over a mile-long stretch on the way into Leeds on the M1 motorway has also been stolen, while cable has even been stolen from Stansted airport. Hospitals in the West Midlands were visited to check for any patients arriving with electrocution-type injuries and a 21-year-old man suffering from 60% burns was subsequently identified at Birmingham's City hospital. Detective Sergeant Carl Russell, of West Midlands police, said: "The man has suffered extensive burns from his ankles up to his scalp which are consistent with having been electrocuted. He remains in a critical condition in hospital." Attacks on BT's network have risen by 12% compared with 2010, with thieves spurred on by the rising cost of metal in the recession. Luke Beeson, general manager at BT Security, said it was asking the government to help regulate scrap dealers. Beeson added: "Stealing telecommunications cable requires some degree of organisation, planning, equipment and resources. "Offenders cover the whole spectrum of criminality from opportunist thieves stealing small amounts through to organised criminal gangs with access to more resources and equipment causing major widespread disruption to our customers." Birmingham Crime BT Telecommunications industry © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds