Boston supermarket obtained £30,000 of electricity after illegal and dangerous electric meter bypass was installed

A Boston supermarket illegally obtained more than £30,000 of electricity after the bypassing the meter.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 3:16 pm
One of the pictures the engineer took of the bypass that had been installed at the supermarket

Lincolnshire Police are calling for its licence to be reviewed by Boston Council with a view to removing it.

They say European Supermarket on George Street was not only committing a crime but was putting its staff and the public in danger.

Western Power carried out a warrant at the store in March and discovered an illegal connection to the current transformers.

The engineer who discovered the tampering ordered the immediate disconnection of the power supply because it was ‘a danger to life’.

Police are now asking Boston Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee to carry out a review of the license and give ‘serious consideration’ to revoking it.

The sub-committee was due to meet last Friday, but it has now been adjourned to a date to be fixed at some point in the future.

It will hear an application by the chief constable of Lincolnshire Police Bill Skelly outlining the force’s concerns in the light of the illegal abstraction of power.

It states: “The police have obtained evidence which indicates that the management of these premises been operation whilst deliberately and knowingly abstracting the electricity…thereby committing crimes and endangering employees and the public.”

Mr Skelly says in the application that the bypass along with a hidden isolation switch were discovered after a long investigation.

Concerns were first raised by provider BES Utilities back in April last year when it was first noticed that usage had been greatly reduced.

After a number of conversations and visits, a warrant was executed by Western Power on March 27.

The engineer who attended found an illegal connection to the current transformers which went through the wall to an isolation switch in the room next door, which was hidden from view behind wooden boarding, with an access panel that was concealed by an old health and safety poster.

The bypass set up, described by the engineer as ‘one of the most sophisticated he had ever seen’, allowed the operator to either partially or fully bypass the meter.

Mr Skelly’s application goes on to say that a £15,000 payment was made to BES Utilities on March 28 – a day after the warrant execution – and a payment plan has been set up to pay the reminder.

He states: “A crime of abstraction was recorded, however due to the repayment BES Utilities stated they had no interest in pursuing a criminal complaint and were satisfied that the matter is resolved.”

His application urges the council to give serious consideration to revoking the licence when they meet.