Firefighters were called out to dozens of homes in Bolton yesterday as kettles, toasters and microwaves suddenly burst into flames.
Copper thieves were the cause of the chaos, which broke out at around 8am after they forced their way into an electrical sub-station and made off with a safety component.
The resulting power surge left 400 homes without electricity, and caused household appliances in some 70 houses to catch fire. Televisions, washing machines, microwaves, kettles and toasters were all affected.
No one was injured but some properties suffered smoke damage.