• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Electricity thefts on the rise in the Thames Valley


Aug 6, 2022

A RISING number of electricity thefts are being recorded in the Thames Valley, figures show.

Electricity theft – which can be carried out by tampering with a line or bypassing a meter – has the potential to cause serious injury and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Home Office figures show Thames Valley Police received 30 reports of the ‘dishonest use of electricity’ in the year to March – up from 20 in 2020/21.

Across England and Wales, 3,600 such offences were recorded in 2021/22 – up 13 per cent on the year before and the most since comparable records began in 2012/13.

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Peter Smith, director of policy and advocacy at National Energy Action, said: “This is not only illegal but dangerous too, and it’s horrifying if the crisis is forcing households to try this to keep the lights on.

“More support is desperately needed to close this gap and help the most vulnerable keep themselves warm and safe this winter.”

Across all police forces, 57 per cent of dishonest use of electricity cases were closed last year with no suspect identified.

In the Thames Valley, 31 investigations were concluded in 2021/22, with 11 resulting in no suspect being identified, 11 abandoned due to evidential difficulties and five with a charge or summons.

The Government said it is providing £37 billion to help households with the cost of living.

A spokesman added: “We are committed to cracking down on crime, including the criminal theft of electricity, which causes serious injury to people and damage to property.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice