Kiwis are being urged to report any suspicious activity around power poles and lines after Manawatū police reported thousands of metres of copper wiring has been stolen in the area so far this year.
Insp Ross Grantham said for 2021, in Manawatū alone, approximately 10,000 metres of copper cabling has been stolen from Powerco's electricity network.
"Police have seen many instances of potentially live wires being left hanging down, or earth cables being cut when people have stolen cables," he said.
"Thieves may not realise they are putting their lives and those of the public at risk by stealing it. It's only a matter of time until either a thief, or an innocent member of the public, is injured or killed because of these actions."
Insp Grantham said if anyone sees any suspicious activity around power poles and lines, particularly in rural areas, they should ring police immediately on the emergency number - 111.
He also asked rural residents to consider joining or forming neighbourhood support groups and remain vigilant in their area.
Powerco's general manager of health and safety Julie McAvoy said the quicker the public reports the thefts, the quicker their company can repair the lines and make them safe again.
"We encourage members of the public to notify us immediately if they see anything on our electricity networks that they are concerned about regarding safety, such as wires that have noticeably been cut or wires hanging low."
Powerco's emergency number is 0800 27 27 27.