Doncaster mum's misery as cannabis dens cause 20 power cuts in one month

A Doncaster mum and daughter are living in fear after 20 power cuts at their house in just one month because of nearby cannabis factories.

Sunday, 8th November 2020, 3:10 pm

Zoe Fretwell, 25, who lives in Hexthorpe, says her house has been plunged into darkness numerous times since October – and blames the outages on drugs factories in the area draining and tripping out power supplies.

Power company Northern Powergrid have confirmed that the blackouts are being caused by criminal activity in the area and are working with South Yorkshire Police in a bid to find the culprits.

Zoe’s angry dad, John, a paramedic with Yorkshire Ambulance Service, says the constant cuts are putting the life of his daughter and grand-daughter Autumn, four, in danger.

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John and Zoe Fretwell are calling for action after a number of power cuts caused by cannabis factories in the area.

"They are both at the stage where they dread a power cut now, Autumn gets quite scared and cries and gets panicky when the house goes dark.

"It’s dangerous too. What if she is upstairs, gets scared or falls downstairs in the dark. Or worse still, what if the electricity problems cause a fire?

"The whole house is electric so they rely on it for heating, cooking, everything.”

John says the cuts began in October at the house in Spansyke Street and have been happening on a daily basis almost ever since, with outages lasting from anything to two to more than six hours.

"At first, we thought it was an issue with the electrics in the house, a voltage issue because you couldn’t run things like the kettle and the microwave at the same time.

"But we’ve dug into it and we've found out its the local cannabis factories in the area that are taking the supplies.

"It’s disgusting. It’s dictating how people live their lives and it’s not fair. There are problem many others in the same boat who are accepting this as the norm and suffering in silence but they shouldn't have to. It's horrible.”

Mr Fretwell said that to rub salt into the wounds, Northern Powergrid had sent his daughter two torches as compensation for the power cuts.

He added: “With another national lockdown upon us and winter drawing nearer I fear for the safety and wellbeing of not only my daughter but for all of the other residents of Hexthorpe – many of them vulnerable in some way - that will be affected by this.

“I don’t believe that the authorities are giving this issue the time and resources it requires. Criminal activity is rife and unchallenged and now these families are left to fend for themselves in run down properties with no lighting ,central heating, or means to cook food in the midst of a pandemic with winter upon us.

“Northern PowerGrid sent us two torches on the back of several complaints as a good will gesture. It is an insult to paying customers.”

A spokeswoman confirmed that Northern Powergrid, was aware of a number of power cuts affecting customers in the Hexthorpe area of Doncaster following what it described as “unusual overloading activity” on its power network in the area.

“We’ve been working with South Yorkshire Police after power cuts in the local area were caused by suspicious overload activities in the area. We’ve made alterations to our network to reduce the number of customers affected by the power cuts and protect our equipment from damage.

"We’re continuing to monitor the network in the area and respond to any power cuts as quickly as possible. We would encourage anyone with information to contact the police on 101.

“We’re also working with our partners, Crimestoppers, to offer a reward of up to £1,000 for information that leads to an arrest and charge of anyone abstracting electricity or interfering illegally with our network in this area. You can contact Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on freephone 0800 555 111 or fill in the simple and secure anonymous online form at”