An alarming rise in the incidence of copper theft has sparked a national campaign, according to the Queensland Mines and Energy Minister Geoff Wilson.
Ergon Energy has joined forces with Crime Stoppers to combat copper theft, which has been attributed to the rising price of copper.
“It’s believed that the high cost of copper is the trigger, but whatever the cause, it is a dangerous practice and we are determined to rein it in,” Wilson said.
“Copper theft is not only dangerous for thieves, but it can also be disruptive to the community – electricity supply, telecommunications, electronic banking or rail services could all be interrupted through theft of material.”
Wilson said Ergon Energy would work with police and organisations such as electricity utilities, telecommunications companies and scrap metal dealers to target the thieves.
“Anyone with information about copper theft should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”
Wilson said there was a serious risk of electric shock or electrocution by stealing copper.
“It is not necessary to come into contact with powerlines or other equipment to receive a shock,” he said.
“Likewise, thieves who attempt to source copper from the electricity network take an enormous gamble with their lives.”
Ergon Energy is implementing a range of strategies in conjunction with police and other members of the campaign to prevent copper theft.
“This will include improved security and surveillance measures, and an awareness campaign to educate the community on the impact of copper thefts and to seek their support in identifying the culprits,” Wilson said.
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