Ulster Unionist representative Roy Beggs MLA, who is developing a Scrap Metal Dealers Bill (NI), has spoken of his concern following the seventh power line theft in seven weeks in Northern Ireland. The most recent theft involved over a mile of copper wiring being removed from NIE power lines on the Antrim Road, in Newtownabbey.
Roy Beggs MLA said “I am concerned at this most recent metal theft, which is the seventh from our electricity network in seven weeks in Northern Ireland and is disrupting local communities. The sawing down of poles carrying live electricity cables creates a significant hazard, where lives could be lost. Power supplies will be affected which will leave the most vulnerable people in our society at risk as many heating systems cannot operate without electricity. Electricity is also vital for monitoring systems to support vulnerable members of the community.”
The UUP East Antrim MLA, who is progressing a Private Members Bill, Scrap Metal Dealers (NI), aimed at combatting metal theft, added, “It would appear that organised crime gangs are involved in metal theft in Northern Ireland. Scrap Metal Dealers legislation would make it harder for thieves to dispose of their stolen copper cable. It would require that the identity of that selling scrap metal such as power cables to be recorded and this would increase the likelihood of thieves being caught and so discourage metal theft in the first place.”
Mr Beggs concluded by stating “I would urge anyone who has seen anything suspicious in relation to this metal theft, to contact the PSNI on 0845 600 8000 or alternatively crime stoppers on 0800 555 111. Any details of strange vehicle movements close to the theft area would be particularly useful in tracking those responsible.”