Thieves are endangering the safety of motorists after stealing street lighting cable and plunging a large stretch of dual carriageway into darkness, police have said.
More than a mile of the A63 link road, which runs between junction 45 of the M1 Motorway and Leeds city centre, has been targeted with in excess of £200,000 pounds of cable being stolen.
West Yorkshire Police believe the thefts stretch back around four weeks and involves a 1.2 mile stretch of road. Officers are warning the damage is endangering the safety of those using the carriageway.
The thieves are thought to be attacking the relatively isolated stretch of road overnight and are likely to be posing as workmen and engineers.
As the thefts take place, half-mile sections of the road are being plunged into darkness.
Officials believe 32 metre sections of cable are being taken on each occasion with the outer casing being stripped at the roadside and the valuable metal component being taken and sold on.
Police have increased patrols in the area and made checks with scrap metal dealers across West Yorkshire and are now appealing for the public's help.
Inspector Nick Smart said: "The dangers associated with this type of theft are not just confined to those driving on the road but also to those stealing the cables.
"We've seen a number of incidents recently where people stealing high voltage electric cable have been killed or significantly burned.
"I believe a number of people, perhaps shift workers or commercial drivers, who may have been on the road late at night or in the early hours of the morning, will have seen the thieves but believed they were workmen."