Reports of powerline theft and tampering in Christchurch have police concerned it’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

A police spokesperson said reports of powerline theft and tampering have been increasing over the past 10 days.

“Incidents are occurring across Christchurch,” they added.

Cases have so far been reports in “multiple central locations” including Disraeli St in Addington, the area surrounding Hillview Rd and Phillips Rd in Phillipstown and Brougham St.

Cases have also been reported further out in West Melton, Halswell, and Marshlands – and on one occasion, a broken powerline was left outside a preschool.

“Police have informed community patrol and frontline police units on what to look out for and have communicated with businesses and residents in affected areas,” the spokesperson said.

“Police are also engaging with local scrap metal dealers as part of the investigation.”

Power outages caused by lines being stolen

Theft of copper from the lines has led to “multiple” recent power outages, police added.

“Typically, once the offenders get what they want, the powerlines are left in an exposed and dangerous state,” the spokesperson said.

“Fortunately, no one has been harmed, but as far as police are concerned it is only a matter of time.”

Senior Sergeant Roy Appley urged any member of the public with information to come forward.

“Our message to offenders is to stop this behaviour before someone, including yourself, gets hurt,” he said.

“You are putting yourselves and others at extreme risk of electrocution, for such a small return.

“If you hear anything out of the ordinary overnight, do not think nothing of it.”

People were asked to call 111 immediately if they saw anyone acting suspiciously around power poles or lines, or 105 after the fact.

Christchurch residents were warned to be aware of the risk of exposed or damaged wires.

Anyone who saw exposed or damaged wires was also advised not to touch them but to call Orion on 0800 363 9898 immediately.