North Yorkshire Police and Northern Powergrid have joined forces to warn of the deadly dangers of stealing overhead power cables.
In recent weeks there has been a spate of thefts of 11,000 volt overhead lines in the southern area of Selby District near to the border with West Yorkshire.
These thefts pose a significant risk to the lives of the offenders responsible and to the wider general public.
Police and Northern Powergrid are appealing for an end to the thefts and are urging the public to report any suspicious activity.
Inspector Richard Abbott, of Selby Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:
It is no exaggeration to say that people stealing overhead power cables are taking their lives into their own hands.
If these thefts continue it is only a matter of time before someone is killed and I am appealing for these thefts to stop urgently.
Not only are offenders putting their own lives in danger they are putting members of the public at risk too and that is completely unacceptable.
Officers have stepped up patrols in the areas which have been targeted by cable thieves and are urging the public to help them prevent any further thefts and a potential tragedy by reporting any suspicious incidents.
Inspector Abbott added:
The public have an important part to play in helping us put a stop to this recent spate of thefts.
It is vital that if you see any suspicious people or vehicles anywhere near power lines that you contact the police, Northern Powergrid or Crimestoppers as a matter of urgency.
Northern Powergrid have released an image of one of their vans to help the public differentiate between an official works vehicle and any unauthorised vehicles which may be spotted near to power lines.
Vulnerable Assets Manager, Nigel Walker said:
Theft of metal from our power assets is an utterly foolhardy act that puts at risk the lives of not only the thieves but also the general public. It brings disruption to the community and the damage it can cause may take weeks to repair fully.
We want everyone to know that metal theft is a mindless crime with dire consequences and Northern Powergrid is working closely with the police to combat the crime and to raise awareness among members of the public.
If you see any suspicious activity please contact North Yorkshire Police as soon as possible on 101. If it is a crime in progress always call 999.
Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.