Hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage has been caused at an electricity substation by a vandal who made off with just £2 worth of copper.
Bosses at Electricity North West said the offender was “dicing with death” at the break-in off Lever Edge Lane in Bolton, Greater Manchester, at about 1.30am on Saturday.
The culprit broke their way through 8ft gates before smashing through the locked doors of the 11,000-volt substation.
The incident left 1,343 customers without power at one point.
Engineers restored power to more than 1,000 customers within two hours and also individually inspected 255 properties over the weekend after reports of internal damage to appliances.
Clive Wilkinson, operations director at Electricity North West, said: “This was a very serious incident.
“The substation is extremely powerful and the person who broke in and stole the copper was dicing with death.
“A considerable amount of damage has been caused as well as hundreds of people affected.”
He added: “It’s one of the biggest faults of this kind that we have ever seen due to vandalism.
“We have yellow ‘danger of death’ signs in and around the network for a reason. It’s vital people take note of these and stay away.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call Greater Manchester Police and quote crime reference number 148800R/19.