METAL thieves targeting electrical sub-stations across Bexley are putting lives at risk, according to police.

Although many are unaware what the small green-painted buildings scattered around the borough do, they are a prime target for unscrupulous thieves.

Inside these sub-stations are earthing straps - which ground high-powered electric cables that deliver electricity to homes - and make them safe.

But made from copper these are being stolen by thieves who want to make a quick bung by selling them for scrap.

Once the earthing strips have been removed, high power surges can lead to electronic equipment in nearby buildings exploding.

The cutting of padlocks to gain access leaves the buildings free for anyone to enter, including unwary children.

Bexley Police is appealing for homeowners to be alert and report any suspicious behaviour around sub-stations to 999.