METAL thieves targeting the power network have been branded callous and reckless for endangering people’s lives.

Northern Powergrid, the electricity distributor for the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, has reported several incidents on its power network in recent days.

On Wednesday , 360 metres of overhead electricity cable was stolen in the early hours at Heminbrough near Selby, resulting in nearby properties being without power for more than 12 hours while repairs were completed.

And yesterday 400 metres of overhead electricity cable normally carrying 11,000 volts at Sykehouse, East Cowick near Goole, leaving nearby properties without power. The thieves left the cut cables, which are normally suspended well above ground at a safe height, hanging low across a roadway where tall farm and heavy goods vehicles pass regularly.

Nigel Walker, Vulnerable Assets Manager at Northern Powergrid said: “The consequences of leaving cut electricity cables carrying thousands of volts hanging dangerously close to a public footpath doesn’t bear thinking about."

Anyone who sees suspicious activity around the power network should report it immediately on Northern Powergrid's emergency 24 hour number 0800 668877, the police on 101 or give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where a reward of up to £1,000 is offered for information leading to an arrest and charge.