Fresh warning over cable theft

Metal thief James Sorby shows off his injured face after suffering  a static charge from a 21,000 volt cable.
Metal thief James Sorby shows off his injured face after suffering a static charge from a 21,000 volt cable.
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A METAL thief who cheated death after being struck by a 21,000-volt power cable has warned burglars against the potentially deadly crime.

James Sorby, 22, suffered horrific injuries after trying to steal live power cables, with the ferocity of the impact blowing part of his skull off and exposing his brain.

The electricity pole at Mere Lane which was hacked down by thieves in March.

The electricity pole at Mere Lane which was hacked down by thieves in March.

He was left unrecognisable to his family following the incident and had to undergo skin grafts to repair his badly damaged face.

The warning comes after a similar incident in Scarborough in March this year when thieves pulled down an 11,000-volt electricity pole in Mere Lane.

More than 630 homes lost electricity following the attempted theft, which police believed was an attempt to steal copper wiring.

The thieves are suspected to have used a chainsaw to hack through the pole before trying to drag it down with a vehicle.

Sorby, who was given a 12-month community service order for burglary after the incident at a power sub station in Leeds, said his horrendous experience proved the dangers carried by live power cables.

He said: “I definitely didn’t grab the cabling with my hands because I wouldn’t do something like that, but I accept I was there to steal the cabling because there was no other reason for me to be there.

“The next thing I remember is the ambulance arriving, I was in a bad way.

“There was blood everywhere, it was coming out of the top of my head, my ears, my nose, and from my gums.

“The message is simple; don’t do it, it is so dangerous.”

Sorby revealed he had to be cut out of his clothes by ambulance staff, but said his ordeal only got worse as he was treated in hospital.

He added: “The pain was unbelievable and the doctors told me I only survived because I am so young and fit.

“The skin grafts were horrible and they had to take the staples out of my skin while I was awake.

“When I finally got to my three-year-old daughter, she didn’t know who I was.

“It wasn’t until she could hear my voice she realised I was her dad.

“It was a horrible experience.”

Speaking after the incident in Mere Lane earlier this year, Paul Norton, head of safety at CE Electric UK, who owned and operated the pole, emphasised the dangers of attempting to steal power cabling.

He added: “The mindless actions of these thieves and their complete lack of regard for the consequences of their actions only highlights the extreme lengths these thieves are willing to go to.”

The incident followed a similar theft in Scarborough last November when a man was jailed for six months after copper pipe was taken from a town centre building site.