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28 Jun 2012
Two men who plunged Congleton town centre into
darkness have admitted trying to steal electrical
cable from the grounds of a disused building.
Steven John Dale (47) from Fern Crescent in
Congleton, and James Johnson (47) from Eldermount
Road, Manchester pleaded guilty to burglary at
Chester Crown Court on Tuesday 19th June 2012 and were sentenced
the same day.
Dale was sentenced to six months in prison
suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to do 150
hours of unpaid work.
Johnson who is in prison serving a sentence for
drug offences was sentenced to six months in prison to run
concurrent to the sentence already being served.
The two men entered a secure perimeter of empty premises in
Bridge Row in Congleton on 20th October 2011 and attempted to steal
electrical cable from a substation belonging to Western Power.
Following the power cut, an engineer for the company inspected
the substation and found that the chamber containing live bars had
been unbolted and one of the nuts on a bus bar was burnt showing
that it had made contact with a metal tool.
Meanwhile, police were called to the War Memorial Hospital in
Canal Road after Dale and Johnson aroused
suspicion in paramedics by turning up shortly after the
power cut which had affected homes, businesses, and the hospital
itself, with injuries suggestive of a large electrical
Johnson had burns to his face and a full thickness burn to his
Dale had more serious injuries including burns
to his face and both arms and smoke inhalation.
After Dale finished lengthy hospital treatment the two men were
arrested on suspicion of burglary and later charged.
Inspector Mark Gammage said:
- Inspector Mark Gammage, Congleton
There were signs up around the perimeter warning of the dangers
of live cables.
Stupidly, they ignored these warnings. They
are lucky they weren't killed. This should serve
as a stark warning to anyone hoping to make a few quid by stealing
cable, that there are painful consequences in attempting such a
dim-witted and dangerous act.