Police are searching for vandals who have been cutting live power lines across rural Waikato over the past month.
This afternoon, Waikato police posted a message on their Facebook page seeking information about numerous power lines being deliberately cut and creating serious safety hazards.
"Over the last few weeks police and our friends at WEL Networks have had to deal with a number of incidents in rural Waikato locations where live power lines have been deliberately cut," Waikato police posted.
"As a result of this vandalism, power lines have been brought down causing a serious safety risk.
"All WEL Networks vehicles are sign-written, so if you see any suspicious activity near power lines in the Waikato please call police on 111 at the time."
WEL Networks provided a statement clarifying there had been seven incidents where live overhead 11kV, high voltage, and 400V, low voltage, power lines had been deliberately cut.
"As a result of this vandalism, power lines have been brought down causing a serious safety risk. This vandalism is also causing significant power disruption to our customers and to our network while lines are repaired and/or replaced," the WEL Network statement said.
Police also shared a message from provider WEL Networks on the danger of downed power lines:
"Remember – Down Means Danger. If you discover any downed power lines, please stay clear and treat every power line as live at all times. We want everyone home safe, every day."
If you have any information on recent events you can report using the non-emergency 105 line, and then cite the following files for these areas where lines have been downed: 201104/8746 –Te Poi, 201014/9195 – Te Awamutu, 201102/1822 –Ngahinapouri or 201105/3124 Te Akau.
In the comments section of the police Facebook post, local residents were aghast.
"A question. How the hell are these plonkers not getting electrocuted when they do this?" one person commented.
Others were mocking of the risks taken: "Just wait until Darwinism catches up with them. Then problem will solve itself."
But others suggested the vandals must know what they are doing to remain unscathed.
"Some little twits stole our power line last week early Monday morning. They know what they are doing and obviously they have the equipment to do so," one person commented.
Another said: "Ex or present linesmen I'd say. Definitely someone who knows what they are doing around lines!"