Axe-Wielding Thieves Stealing Copper From Live Electricity Poles

Axe-wielding thieves are menacing parts of Australia's electrical grid.

The copper bandits have been targeting live poles and  are endangering their own lives.

For the past three months poles on the Gold Coast and Caboolture in Queensland, have been repeatedly targeted for copper, according to Energex.

The power supplier’s area manager, Stuart Marsh, told TEN Eyewitness the bandits were risking their own lives to steal the wire.

“Stealing cabling from live electrical equipment poses imminent danger of killing those performing the act and has potential safety implications for the surrounding community,” he said.

The cables are designed to direct high-voltage electricity safely into the ground in the event of a fault, or a lightning strike.

Mr Marsh said without them, the network is at serious risk of failing.

“Earth wires are an imperative safety feature of our infrastructure and those caught stealing or attempting to sell the metal as scraps will be dealt with by police.”

Copper theft continues yo be a problem in Australia. Photo: AAP

When informed of the thefts, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate told TEN Eyewitness News he’d roll out mobile security cameras to patrol known hot spots.

“It’s un-Australian for them to make a few dollars and then leave it hanging for other people to get electrocution. It’s so disgusting and we’re going to stop it,” he said.

Energex confirmed that its cables are identifiable, and that police can trace anyone caught attempting to sell them.

“We hold relationships with scrapyard owners who recognise and alert both Energex and authorities to those attempting to sell the product,” Mr Marsh said.

Energex crews meanwhile will continue to monitor poles that are repeatedly targeted, to ensure they’re repaired as soon as possible.