In one year alone, there were reports of at least two deaths and 36 injuries as a result of illegal modifications to gas and electricity meters.
And that’s in addition to the estimated £400 million of extra costs to UK service providers and customers each year. Everyone else is footing the bill for those who tamper with their meters.
That’s why our Revenue Protection Unit (RPU) is so important: not just to help keep bills down, but to help prevent potentially fatal accidents.
Cops and coppers
Following an early morning raid on a local drugs den – one of our own RPU officers was called to the scene by police officers to investigate a suspected case of tampering.
It didn’t take long to spot the obvious: a piece of copper wire had been attached to the box, effectively bypassing the meter and letting the owners use as much electricity as they liked for free.
The wire – carrying enough electricity to potentially kill anyone who touched it – was so hot that it had even started to melt the box it was attached to.
Many meter offenders are trying to avoid paying the price of business electricity. But these drug farmers were based in a residential area, so their main concern was probably to avoid drawing attention to their high-consumption illicit activities.
Luckily, a skilled team quickly exchanged the hazardous meter for a safe one, and the owner was later arrested and forced to pay £1,200 for the energy that had been taken.
Partners in crime-stopping
We’ve recently been supporting Crimestoppers in a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers and costs of meter tampering.
Take just one minute to watch their video. It helps you spot the warning signs of a meter that’s been tampered with, as well as showing first-hand the terrible dangers of criminal modifications.
Just remember: you might not have had your meter fiddled with, but the previous tenants in your premises might have – or even your neighbours. Here are a few of the things to watch out for on an electricity meter:
• A damaged or missing meter casing
• Extra wires that don’t look professionally attached
• Burn marks, or a melted casing
• A meter that’s still giving out electricity, even with no credit.
Meter tampering is a crime that could endanger anyone. So show your support and help raise awareness by liking and sharing Crimestoppers’ national Energy Theft campaign.