Police are hunting criminals who cut down electricity poles on the Antrim Road near Glengormley, causing a power cut to several homes.
The incident happened on the stretch of the road between Sandyknowes and Templepatrick, not far from the Chimney Corner Hotel, in the early hours of Tuesday, February 18.
Sometime between 12.30am and 1.30am four electricity poles were sawn down and approximately 1,400 metres of overhead conductor cable was stolen.
“In committing these offences, not only have people broken the law, but their actions have impacted on local households who have had to cope without electricity until repairs were completed,” said police Inspector, Alan McKeown.
“There is a strong risk of serious injury to those responsible for cutting down the poles, and this extends also to passers-by and livestock.”
A spokesperson for NIE confirmed that “a small number of households” were affected by the power cut, adding that engineers completed repairs by Tuesday afternoon.
She revealed that this was the fifteenth incident in the last six months where live power lines have been brought down by metal thieves.
“We would ask these people to stop and think about what they are doing. They are putting themselves and people in the local area at serious risk of injury or even death. In this particular incident, lines were broken very close to a main road which could have had serious implications for motorists,” said Brendan Lunney, NIE fault and emergency engineer for the area.
“We would ask people living in rural locations to remain vigilant and to report anyone tampering with the electricity network to NIE or the PSNI.”
Police have appealed for anyone with information about the incident to call investigating officers on 0845 600 8000.