A man was left in a critical condition after he suffered shock while trying to steal copper wiring from a substation in Nottinghamshire.
High scrap metal prices are thought to drive thefts
Police said the 23-year-old had climbed over protective railings on Mansfield Road at Babworth, near Retford, when he was injured.
His arm was severely burnt in the incident on Saturday and he was taken hospital in Sheffield.
He suffered a 33,000-volt shock which knocked him down and immobilised him.
The man was found lying on the ground and was taken to Bassetlaw District General Hospital and later transferred to Northern General Hospital.
Ch Insp Glenn Harper said: "Copper theft has been a persistent problem in north Nottinghamshire over the past year and we have been working hard with scrap dealers and community partners to combat it.
"It is astounding that metal thieves seem to have total disregard for their own safety and are willing to risk serious injury or death."
Police deal with up to five reports of copper, lead and other metal theft a day in the county.
Thieves are stealing copper and electrical wiring from private businesses, radio masts and sub-stations and lead flashing from school, church and house roofs.