Burnley electricty sub-station raider left hundreds of homes without power

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A BURGLAR who diced with death while raiding a Burnley sub-station has been locked up for eight months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Ronald Houghton (56) who had left hundreds of homes without power, was caught from DNA off a cigarette end.

Houghton, who had been with an accomplice, had forced his way into the premises in Sycamore Avenue on January 5th.

The hearing was told an engineer from Electricity North West had arrived to find live equipment, which carried 11,000 volts, being removed. Houghton could have ended up dead or badly burned.

Houghton, who left a £5,000 trail of damage, had been on bail at the time, after invading an empty house to get copper piping. He and his associate Jason Mansfield (35) admitted burglary and Houghton also admitted burglary with intent to steal at the sub-station. They had been committed for sentence by magistrates.

The hearing was told Houghton, of Kime Street, Burnley, was heavily convicted.

Mansfield, of Florence Street, Burnley, received a 12-month community order with supervision, after a judge said he had “deep-seated problems” and needed help.

Mr Richard Taylor (defending Houghton) said he was “inadequate”, had had significant problems over the years and committed nuisance offences.

Sentencing, Recorder Roderick Carus, QC, said the theft of metals was becoming prevalent in “these difficult times for people,” and sub-stations and other such places were particularly vulnerable to attacks.

Recorder Carus said of the sentence: “This is designed to act as a deterrent so others will not follow your lead.”