POWER supplies in Steyning are being threatened by fly-tipping at the electricity substation.
The UK Power Networks site, off the A283 Steyning bypass, has been targeted, along with more than 150 substations which deliver essential power supplies in the south east, London and the east of England.
The company said about 52 cases had been reported in Sussex, Surrey and Kent since January, and it was now appealing to the public to help it tackle the problem.
The incidents can put power supplies at risk by delaying access to vital equipment and endanger staff visiting the sites to carry out inspections, maintenance or repairs.
Jim Nicholl, lead environmental adviser, said: “Fly-tipping can delay the reconnection of power supplies by blocking access to our essential electricity distribution equipment.
“It is also dirty, dangerous and can be harmful to our staff and the public. We are appealing to the public to help us by reporting any sightings of fly-tipping at the sites which bring power to their properties.”
Dumped settees and other large waste can also be climbed, making it tempting for children who might not understand the severe dangers of entering an electricity substation.
The company urges people to ring UK Power Networks if they see rubbish blocking a substation, so the waste can be safely removed.
Cleaning up the rubbish has already cost UK Power Networks several thousand pounds this year.
A piano, builders’ rubble, guttering and downpipes have all been found outside the Steyning substation.
Elsewhere, engineers have found mattresses, fridges, ironing boards, sofas, desks, toasters, bottles, tree clippings, cans, tyres and polystyrene inside vital substation enclosures.
Occasionally, broken glass and used needles have been discovered lurking among the rubbish.
UK Power Networks point out fly-tipping is a criminal offence under the Environmental Protection Act, carrying significant fines and even prison sentences in more serious cases.
The company will work with the police to prosecute offenders where possible.
Anyone who sees fly-tipping blocking access to an electricity substation can report it to the company on 0845 601 4516.