PEOPLE stole electricity on a dozen occasions in Cumbria last year, figures show.

Electricity theft – which can be carried out by tampering with a line or bypassing a meter – has the potential to cause serious injury and is punishable by up to five years in prison.

Though already an increasing problem, the National Energy Action campaign group said it is "horrifying" that others could be turning to the illegal practice to keep their lights on amid a growing fuel crisis.

Home Office figures show Cumbria Constabulary received 12 reports of the "dishonest use of electricity" in the year to March – though this is down from 17 in 2020-21.

In Cumbria, 11 investigations were concluded in 2021-22, with two resulting in no suspect being identified, seven abandoned due to evidential difficulties and one with a charge or summons.

The Government said it is providing £37 billion to help households with the cost of living.