THIEVES are taking their lives in their hands on a daily basis as break-ins to electricity substations soar.

Accrington police reported 33 break-ins in just one month, with some sub-stations targeted repeatedly.

The problem is said to be centered on Rishton, with some also taking place in Accrington and Great Harwood.

PC Roger Brindle said people were forcing their way into the small shed-like units, ignoring warning signs and putting themselves at the mercy of ‘life threatening voltages’, to try to steal metal.

The cost of damage to stations is around £400 a time.

There has also been concern at children being able to access the opened stations.

PC Brindle said: “It’s a massive risk, as life-threatening voltages run through these stations.

"The problem is with thieves breaking in to steal very large, thick cables.

"The substations are linked to the national grid and cost hundreds to repair each time they are messed with.”

PC Louis Boyle said patrols were targeting the problem.

He said: “There have been about ten in the last four days.

"As well as the risks, the cost to Electricity North West will end up being passed back to customers, and it has the potential to cause blackouts.”

Anyone with information should call police on 0845 1253545 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.