National Grid customers in South Devon are being urged to report any suspicious activity near power lines following a spate of cable thefts.

There have been three occasions within the same number of days where someone has used an angle grinder on a pole to cut down live high-voltage electricity cables to steal the line.

One incident took place at Harscombe, near Bickleigh, and was reported by a National Grid employee on Tuesday, December 13.

Offenders also struck in the Plympton area between midnight and 3.20 pm on Sunday, December 11, twice at Lee Moor between 10 am and 11 am and 1 pm and 2 pm on Monday, December 12 - and at Cornwood, near Ivybridge, at about 2.45 pm on Thursday, December 15.

Ashley Pillay, of National Grid in Plymouth, said: “These thefts are not only irresponsible but incredibly dangerous.

"The live cables being targeted are high voltage and anyone tampering with them risks severe injury or death.

“We have found they have sometimes left cut cables and conductors which are still live and therefore extremely hazardous.

“Their actions are causing power cuts which are understandably frustrating and disruptive for our customers.

"We thank anyone affected for their patience while we rectify this criminal damage.

“We would really appreciate if people could keep an eye out for any activity near our power lines or sub stations that looks out of the ordinary."

Devon and Cornwall police are investigating these incidents, which are part of a national metal theft problem.

PC Ryan Cann Ivybridge Police added: “This process is extremely dangerous and ultimately leaves live cable lying on the ground which poses a significant risk to members of the public.

"I would like to stress vigilance near powerlines should anyone see cable lying on the ground and to ask that any suspicious activity be reported immediately.

"I’d like to add that anyone working on a power line will be wearing clearly identifiable national grid uniform and driving a fully marked vehicle."

If you see anything suspicious, please don’t challenge those involved but report it by calling 0800 096 3080.