Council slams large-scale copper thefts

Even as the council decried the theft of three tonnes of wire installed as part of long-awaited upgrades at Sunbury Recreation Reserve, thieves struck again last Thursday night, ripping a 30 metre electrical cable out of the ground at Learmonth Street Preschool.

The incident did not affect Friday kinder classes, but added to an already extensive repair bill faced by the council.

The latest thefts follow a similar incident earlier this year at Eric Boardman Reserve, when thieves removed cables that powered oval lights.

Cost to the community

Mayor Helen Patsikatheodorou said the thefts had cost the community dearly.

‘‘This is an appalling crime and cannot be tolerated,’’ she said.

‘‘I ask every resident of Hume to keep a close eye on anyone who loiters around our reserves in a suspicious manner.’’

Copper wire taken from Sunbury Recreation Reserve was worth $12,000 and cost the council $4000 to install. Cr Patsikatheodorou said thieves had gone to enormous lengths, breaking into a switchboard before yanking cables from the ground.

‘‘These individuals are lucky to be alive because they wouldn’t have known whether the electrical cable was alive or not,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s one of the most foolish things you can imagine.’’

The council is part-way through a $1.75 million redevelopment of the recreation reserve’s McMahon Pavilion, which includes new change, umpire and medical rooms.

Cr Patsikatheodorou urged anyone with information about the thefts to contact the council or Crime Stoppers.

Information to Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000