Independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers and partner E.ON are looking to highlight the issue of energy theft by launching a campaign to highlight the dangers and impact on the UK public.
The campaign will include a series of events taking place this Friday (8 November) in Nottingham which will involve a public drop in session and an information session for E.ON employees to help them identify the warning signs of energy theft.
This year, energy regulator OFGEM proposed that energy theft was costing customers at least £200 million a year, with up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft per year in the UK.
The regulator also proposes that gas theft equates to around £138 million per year, with 3,000 incidents of theft taking place.
However, the cost of meter tampering doesn’t only have financial implications; it can lead to property damage through fires, personal injury, and even fatalities.
Energy theft can often be mistaken as a low level crime, however it is sometimes used in organised crime networks who are running commercial cannabis farms to cover up the high levels of energy used.
One family including a mother, her three young children and elderly father were forced to flee their home by escaping out of a window after a fire broke out due to meter interference by the previous tenants.
Investigations revealed that both meters on the property had been tampered with and an electrical explosion had been fuelled by leaking gas from the illegal gas connection.
Roger Critchell, Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, said: “Energy theft might be seen as a victimless crime, but I can assure you that the impact is significant and the dangers to the public are undeniable.
“Working alongside E.ON we want to highlight the risks of this crime, firstly by making clear the risk it poses to the public and secondly by appealing to those who know of individuals committing these offences to contact Crimestoppers anonymously.”
Barrie Millett of E.ON UK said: “There are many different types of energy theft but they all have one thing in common – they put people at risk. From cannabis cultivation to pre-payment top-up fraud and people trying to cheat everyone else by by-passing the meter there is a wide spectrum but the message from both organisations is clear – energy theft is simply not worth it.”
E.ON and Crimestoppers will hold a public drop-in session at E.ON Open House on Lister Gate, Nottingham on 8 November 2013 between 3:00pm and 5:30pm. This will give customers the chance to put their questions or concerns directly to experts and get practical advice and help.
If you have any information on those committing energy theft then contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through our Anonymous Online Form.
For more information please contact Crimestoppers Media Officer Kieran Theivam on 0208 835 3727 or email Kieran.
Notes to Editors
- Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps the police to solve crimes, making communities safer. It does this by operating the 24/7 telephone number 0800 555 111 which people can ring to pass on information about crimes anonymously. They can also use our Anonymous Online Form via our website.
- Around 20 people are arrested and charged every day as a result of information given to Crimestoppers.
- Since Crimestoppers began in 1988, it has received over a million actionable calls, resulting in over 126,000 arrests and charges. Over £126 million worth of goods has been recovered and over £301 million worth of drugs has been seized.
- In 2005, Crimestoppers launched the UK’s Most Wanted on its website which allows the public to view images of criminals and pass on vital information about their whereabouts. It has been highly successful with over 2,500 arrests to date.
- Crimestoppers UK was founded by Lord Ashcroft, KCMG, Chairman of Trustees. In 1988, he launched Crimestoppers in the Metropolitan Police area. Crimestoppers’ ‘call to action’ is built on a three-way partnership between the business community, the police and the media.