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Cops hunt charred power cable thief

11,000V + hacksaw = bang

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Derbyshire Police are looking for a "badly scorched" wannabe copper cable thief who decided it was a lucrative idea to hacksaw through an 11,000V power line, Reuters reports.

Almost 800 residents in the village of Creswell were blacked out on Saturday night for several hours after the bright spark made his pitch for Darwin Award glory. Cops found said hacksaw embedded in the cable, and a lit blowtorch at the scene, but no sign of the high-voltage perp.

Phil Wilson, customer operations manager with local power outfit Central Networks, said: "The sheer stupidity of cutting through power cables should be glaringly obvious to everyone. 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."

He concluded: "We can only assume they left in a great hurry or they were injured and were dragged away by an accomplice."

Derbsyshire plod, however, said yesterday that a trawl of local hospitals had not located the fried copper-lifter.

The lust for copper has been driven by China's snaffling of vast quantities of the stuff, leading to a sharp hike in its value. As a result, thefts have become common worldwide, although the most promising sources often hold the prospect of a nasty shock.

Indeed, Reuters notes that UK ne'er-do-wells' assaults on electricity substations and power lines have resulted in two deaths to date and many serious injuries. ®

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