Burglars disrupt tram services

PUBLISHED: 08:07 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:00 15 June 2010

BUNGLING thieves caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at Colyton Tram Station and risked electrocution after stealing overhead cable without cutting off all the power.

BUNGLING thieves caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at Colyton Tram Station and risked electrocution - after stealing overhead cable without cutting off all the power.A 100-metre length of cable worth £10,000 was taken overnight on Sunday (June 29) from a shed at Colyford station.But thieves failed to completely shut down the generator and it is believed they abandoned their venture after witnessing a "massive firework display" when live wires fell.Seaton Tramway engineer and district and town councillor John Jefferies felt both the company and the thieves had a lucky escape. "The thieves were lucky to get away without some serious injuries to themselves," he said. "Direct current types cause muscle spasms and internal bleeding. It's terrible stuff."I imagine they started chopping down the cable and then saw a massive firework display. They left everything - a ladder and various things they had probably pinched - and got away."They thought they knew what they were doing, but electrics should be respected and people should just keep away from them. It's never worth the risk for some money in scrap metal."There are burn marks on the tracks and police believe there must have been a lot of sparks to cause metal to burn. Mr Jeffries said it was also fortunate for Seaton Tramway that they did not finish the job. However, the damage caused disruptions and prevented some services from running on Monday.Mr Jeffries added: "It has a knock-on effect - and that's where the real cost lies."Seaton Tramway managing director Jenny Nunn said: "This most important message to convey is that whoever did this put themselves at risk of electrocution or burning. "They went through a huge process and thought they knew what they were doing but obviously didn't realise the overhead cable was still live. "To put themselves in such a dangerous position is incredible, and definitely not worth it. "Secondly, this was trespassing on railway property so it's pretty serious. "This cable is critical to the way we operate. This is a horrendous thing to have to deal with but we will get there and back up and running."PC Robin Gibson said: "It seems senseless that they have quite literally risked their lives to take something that is not worth that much but caused so much damage."The tram had to close temporarily and it caused a massive loss of business."Anyone with information is urged to call 08452 777 444, quoting crime reference KN/08/381. Alternatively, ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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