Crackdown on energy theft extends to restaurants

Electricity metre

Crimestoppers has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of meter tampering after it emerged that restaurant businesses have been among those found guilty of energy theft in the past.

The appeal is focusing on Newcastle and neighbouring Gateshead and looks to help bring down the £400m figure that energy theft costs the UK public every year.

The move comes 18 months after five restaurants along Manchester’s notorious ‘curry mile’ were raided, with four of them found to have tampered meters, and another with an altered gas supply.  Officials at the time said that “lives had been put at risk.”

The new campaign will use social media channels to fill a ‘black hole’ of under reporting in the Newcastle and Gateshead area, with one energy provider revealing there to have been 259 incidents in the area alone in 2014.

An educational video highlighting the signs to spot has been placed on YouTube to act as a tool for those who wish to check their meter to ensure it has not been interfered with.

A second video has also been produced for those seeking out methods to tamper to act as a deterrent by highlighting the devastating consequences to the tamperer and innocent people nearby.

Tony Thornton, chairman of the UK Revenue Protection Association, said: “Energy theft is a serious and dangerous issue with significant impacts on local communities. Tampering with a gas or electricity meter can lead to fire, explosion, electrocution and death.

“The dangers of meter tampering are not confined to the individual – fire can spread, explosions can destroy neighbouring homes and attending emergency services are put at serious risk.”

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