POWERFUL toy drones and model helicopters could cause power cuts, according to the company that operates the electricity network in Dorset.

As sales of these toys have increased in the run-up to Christmas, Southern Electric Power Distribution is concerned that if not used properly, they could cause problems for its electricity network.

SEPD is urging newbie pilots to steer a course away from its substations and overhead lines.

In fact, according to the Civil Aviation Authority drones should not be flown within 150 metres of a built up area.

Bev Keogh, the company’s Head of Operations, explains: “These model planes and drones that are on the market nowadays are really powerful and capable of flying at tremendous heights and speeds.

“If one of them were to strike a power line or crash into a substation, it could damage an important piece of equipment and cause a power cut.

“If someone’s been given a drone or a model helicopter for Christmas, they should enjoy it in a safe environment where there is no risk of hitting power lines or substations.”

If a model aircraft or drone does fall into a substation, SEPD is urging people not to retrieve it – no matter how expensive it is.

There is a very real risk of a potentially fatal electric shock.

The electricity network operator wants people to contact its Emergency Service Centre instead which is open 24 hours a day.