Cutlery 'chaos' as spoon sewer blockage leaves hundreds without electricity

It may be a humble eating utensil - but this harmless looking teaspoon was responsible for a power cut that affected hundreds of people.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 13th October 2017, 5:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:00 pm
The spoon was identified as the cause of the blockage that caused the flood.
The spoon was identified as the cause of the blockage that caused the flood.

Businesses in the centre of St Annes were left without electricity yesterday after an electricity substation flooded.

And when engineers investigated the problem they traced it back to a single spoon.

The cutlery-based chaos started when the silver spoon found its way into the sewer system, causing a blockage.

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Marks and Spencer and the Travelodge, both on Clifton Drive South, were reportedly affected, while Beverley Wood, chairman of the St Annes Enterprise Partnership, said she had also been left without power.

United Utilities engineers were called to the scene and traced the problem to a blockage in a nearby sewer.

Using a camera they were able to pinpoint the spoon as the source of the problem.

Danny Wilson, of United Utilities, said: “It was a bit of a surprise. The spoon was wedged solid and over time it had collected a solid wad of wet wipes, cotton buds and other rubbish. Eventually that’s what caused the blockage.

“The sewage overflowed from a manhole and went into the lowest point which was the electricity substation. It caused absolute chaos.

"We remove hundreds of blockages from sewers every week, caused by things that should never be down there. The biggest problem is wet wipes. They get stuck very easily and they don’t breakdown. Please only flush the 3 Ps – pee, poo and paper.”

It is not clear how the spoon ended up in the sewer.

An Electricity North West spokesman said yesterday the power cut was affecting 260 customers. Ms Wood posted on Twitter to say power had been restored at around 5.15pm.