A copper theft surge has prompted a major response from authorities across Queensland as criminals cause millions of dollars in damage.

Energy Queensland has changed tactics to help curb the situation due to the significant impact on the network.

“We’ve had instances where the copper thieves have taken up to 1000 metres of cable in one night,” Energex area manager Chris Graham told 9News Queensland.

"We've had instances where the copper thieves have taken up to 1000 metres of cable in one night," Energex area manager Chris Graham told 9News Queensland.
Energex area manager Chris Graham said there have been instances where copper thieves have taken up to 1000 metres of cable in one night. (9News)

Copper crime on Queensland’s electricity network has tripled since 2020, with almost 400 incidents last year alone. 

New housing estates, sporting clubs and businesses have been targeted, with reports that thieves are posing as tradies to avoid detection.

Culprits have been selling the cable to scrap metal dealers, who melt and re-shape it, which is then largely used in electronics.

A copper theft surge has prompted a major response from authorities across Queensland as criminals cause millions of dollars in damage. Energy Queensland has changed tactics to help curb the situation due to the significant impact on the network.
Energy Queensland has changed tactics to help curb the situation due to the significant impact on the network. (9News)

“People are stealing copper dressed in high visibility and driving commercial utes,” Daniel Cunningham from Queensland Police said.

“I would encourage anyone if they do see anything to report it.”

However, now that repair bills have mounted to more than $4.5 million a year, crews have replaced copper with aluminium at many of its sites. 

“There’s no scrap value for the copper thieves in this cable, so there’s no point in them trying to steal this cable,” Graham said.

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