18th Oct, 2017

Lights out for slugs living in Redditch lamp posts

SLIMY slugs short circuited a string of street lights in Redditch plunging the area into darkness.

In an event described as ‘very rare’ by power giant Western Power, the slugs had made their home in lamp-posts between St Augustine’s High School and Priestfield Road off Windmill Drive in the Hunt End area of town.

However so many were packed in the posts that their naturally slick bodies came into contact with the electrics which duly blew, frazzling the creatures and taking out all the street lights and the lights in a nearby underpass.

A spokesman for Western Power said: “Our engineers found slugs in the street light column on Windmill Drive, so it is likely that they have made contact with the electricity cables, creating a short circuit.

“Faults like this are very rare when you consider the many thousands of street lights in the region, but was probably exacerbated by the recent very wet weather.”

The story came to light when we were contacted by reader Kylie Evans who sent us a recording of former Astwood Bank resident Malcolm Boyden’s show on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester.

Malcolm had been called by local resident Neil Byng, who had become concerned that, with night falling earlier in the winter months, students from St Augustine’s School were having to walk home in the dark between Windmill Drive and Priestfield Road, as none of the street lights were working.

“I was becoming concerned for the safety of students walking along the footpath, which is pretty rough anyway, so on November 18 I contacted the council and Western Power,” said Neil.

“Western Power said it could up to 20 days to repair and I thought that just wasn’t good enough, so I got in touch with Malcolm.”

Western Power were contacted last Friday and had engineers on site by 8.15am on Saturday morning.

There they discovered the charred remains of the slugs and realised that, with the wet weather last week combined with general sludge and grime, the slugs had become highly conductive of electricity.

Clearing the gastropods out they cleaned the connections, re-set the wiring and were gone by just after 10am leaving the lights in perfect working order.

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